Hi Indy. I thought you might enjoy this. Perhaps Mr. Hackett-Jones is already aware of it, and if not, maybe he can explain what Steinbeck did wrong.
In the 1940s Steinbeck worked as a journalist — as a war correspondent. He sent dispatches from all around the Mediterranean and from North Africa during World War II. After the war was over he started taking trips to the Soviet Union, going to Moscow, Kiev, Stalingrad, and also many out-of-the-way places in the Soviet republics where Western reporters had not traveled. “He tried learning Russian but never really attained fluency. He once wrote home about how he proudly tried to order a breakfast of omelet, toast, and coffee, and was served in response a “tomato salad with onions, a dish of pickles, a big slice of watermelon, and two bottles of cream soda.” – Garrison Keillor
Hope all is well. Give my best to Princess Pennie and the wizard.