Of Mice and Men

John Steinbeck

Illustrated by James Albon

Published by The Folio Society for the first time, Of Mice and Men is John Steinbeck’s electrifying tale of injustice and shattered dreams, set during the Great Depression.


From the rustic styling of James Albon’s illustrations, to the tactile binding that cleverly refers to the agricultural setting, this glorious edition will reignite powerful childhood memories of discovering Steinbeck.

‘A novelist who is also a true poet’ 

  1. Sunday Times

Migrant labourers George and Lennie are dropped miles from their new workplace by a bus driver who deems them unworthy of an unscheduled stop. The symbolism is clear from the outset – itinerant farm workers have little social status in the land they sow and harvest for others’ financial gain. George is slight and savvy, Lennie a hulking simpleton, and the pair have formed an unlikely friendship. They wander state to state, working on ranches and sleeping rough between jobs, until Lennie’s childlike naivety inevitably lands him in trouble and they must once again move on.

‘After Of Mice and Men, the act of reading would never be the same again.’ 

  1. Independent

Production details

Bound in printed textured paper

Set in Miller Text with Shelton Slab display

112 pages

Frontispiece, 3 colour illustrations, including 2 double-page spreads, and 6 black & white integrated illustrations

Pictorial slipcase

9˝ x 5¾˝

A damning indictment of the American Dream

Steinbeck’s sparse narrative is suggestive of a stage play and his gift for relating complex human sentiments with the briefest authorial direction is unsurpassed. The characters are drawn with confident self-restraint that borders on detachment; Steinbeck sets the scene then pulls back to allow them space to tell their story. The effect is overpowering and ensures this thought-provoking novella will endlessly gnaw at your conscience.

‘A short tale of much power and beauty. Mr Steinbeck has contributed a small masterpiece to the modern tough-tender school of American fiction.’

  1. Times Literary Supplement

If there was any hope of realising the American dream, it is ruthlessly shattered by Steinbeck as the story progresses, leaving us wrangling with the reality of life at the fringes of society in a country battling financial meltdown. It is an extraordinary book that endures and rattles like the horses’ halter chains in the barn – a repeated refrain that is full of foreboding.

A first for the Folio society

One of the most loved stories in the American canon, this is the first time Folio has published Of Mice and Men and it joins our other Steinbeck titles Once There Was a War and East of Eden. The powerful novella is given a glorious treatment in our edition that features era-defining Shelton Slab display text. Award-winning illustrator James Albon’s work has appeared in the Guardian, the Wall Street Journal and WIRED.

Albon created the poignant image of Lennie sleeping as a personal reaction to the book and this led to his commission; the image eventually forming the incredible wraparound slipcase. This joins a series of striking colour linocuts, including two double-page spreads, as well as black-and-white integrated images.


John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California, in 1902. In 1919 he enrolled at Stanford only to drop out six years later without obtaining a degree. Steinbeck then moved to New York City to find work as a freelance writer, though he quickly returned to California where he worked as a caretaker in Lake Tahoe. There he wrote his first novel, Cup of Gold (1929). His first major successes were with Tortilla Flat (1935) and Of Mice and Men (1937). His 1939 novel The Grapes of Wrath won Steinbeck a Pulitzer Prize in 1940, and at the height of its success sold ten thousand copies a week. Despite his pro-American writing during the Second World War, the FBI maintained a file on him as a suspected Communist due to the calls for economic reform found in his works. Steinbeck was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962. He died in New York City in 1968.


James Albon studied Illustration at Edinburgh College of Art, and went on to a postgraduate scholarship at the Royal Drawing School in London. He received the Gwen May Award from the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers in 2012. He illustrated Parade’s End for The Folio Society in 2013 and The Blue Flower in 2015.


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