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DescriptionEast of Eden is a novel by American author and Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck. Published in September 1952, the work is regarded by many to be Steinbeck's most ambitious novel and by Steinbeck himself to be his magnum opus. Steinbeck stated about East of Eden: "It has everything in it I have been able to learn about my craft or profession in all these years," and later said: "I think everything else I have written has been, in a sense, practice for this." The novel was originally addressed to Steinbeck's young sons, Thom and John (then 6½ and 4½ years old, respectively). Steinbeck wanted to describe the Salinas Valley for them in detail: the sights, sounds, smells and colors. East of Eden brings to life the intricate details of two families, the Trasks and the Hamiltons, and their interwoven stories. The Hamilton family in the novel is said to be based on the real-life family of Samuel Hamilton, Steinbeck's maternal grandfather. A young John Steinbeck also appears briefly in the novel as a minor character.