“For the covers, Penguin Picture Editor Sam Johnson turned to the work of Walker Evans and, in particular, his striking series of 2,650 Polaroid pictures that he took in 1973, two years before his death.
Some of Evans’ most famous photographs, shot during the Great Depression for the Farm Security Administration (FSA), connected his work intimately to the struggles of American farming families in the 1930s – a time when Steinbeck was also writing some of his most celebrated works and addressing similar themes. In Dubious Battle, the the first of his ‘Dustbowl trilogy’, was published in 1936 and was followed by Of Mice and Men (1937) and The Grapes of Wrath (1939).
Having previously dismissed colour photography, it seems that Evans embraced the Polaroid SX-70 and looked anew at the America he had depicted throughout his life. For Johnson the connection with Steinbeck was obvious – but she was keen to come at the depiction of America from a different angle.”
— Mark Sinclair, Creative Review