John Steinbeck (1902-1968) was an American author who won the Nobel prize for Literature in 1962 "for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception". His works frequently explored the themes of fate and injustice, especially as applied to downtrodden or everyman protagonists.
This quotation is taken from his novel “The Grapes of Wrath”, the title of which comes from the “Battle Hymn of the Republic" (better known as “Mine Eyes have seen the Glory”). It is set in the Great Depression and describes a family of sharecroppers, the Joads, who were driven from their land due to the dust storms of the Dust Bowl. Some critics found it too sympathetic to the workers' plight and too critical of capitalism but it won both the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize for fiction and was adapted as a film directed by John Ford.