Learn more about Pearl Buck’s books and essays.

photo copyrighted

photo copyrighted


Pearl Comfort Sydenstricker was born on June 26, 1892, in Hillsboro, West Virginia. Her parents were Southern Presbyterian missionaries, most often stationed in China, and from childhood, Pearl spoke both English and Chinese. She returned to China shortly after graduation from Randolph-Macon Woman's College in Lynchburg, Virginia, in 1914, and the following year, she met a young agricultural economist named John Lossing Buck. They married in 1917, and immediately moved to Nanhsuchou in rural Anhwei province. In this impoverished community, Pearl Buck gathered the material that she would later use in The Good Earth and other stories of China.
Pearl began to publish stories and essays in the 1920s, in magazines such as The Nation, The Chinese Recorder, Asia, and The Atlantic Monthly. Her first novel, East Wind, West Wind, was published by the John Day Company in 1930. John Day's publisher, Richard Walsh, would eventually become Pearl's second husband, in 1935, after both received divorces.

In 1931, John Day published Pearl's second novel, The Good Earth. This became the bestselling book of both 1931 and 1932, won the Pulitzer Prize and the Howells Medal in 1935, and would be adapted as a major MGM film in 1937. Other novels and books of nonfiction quickly followed. In 1938, less than a decade after her first book had appeared, Pearl won the Nobel Prize in literature, the first American woman to do so. By the time of her death in 1973, Pearl had published more than seventy books: novels, collections of stories, biography and autobiography, poetry, drama, children's literature, and translations from the Chinese. She is buried at Green Hills Farm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

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My Several Worlds: A Personal Record (New York: John Day, 1954).

A Bridge For Passing (New York: John Day, 1962)


Is There a Case for Foreign Missions? (New York: John Day, 1932).

The Chinese Novel: Nobel Lecture Delivered before the Swedish Academy at Stockholm, December 12, 1938 (New York: John Day, 1939).

Of Men and Women (1941)

What America Means to Me (New York: John Day, 1943). Essays.

Talk about Russia (with Masha Scott) (1945)

Tell the People: Talks with James Yen About the Mass Education Movement (New York: John Day, 1945).

How It Happens: Talk about the German People, 1914–1933, with Erna von Pustau (1947)

with Eslanda Goode Robeson. American Argument (New York: John Day, 1949).

The Child Who Never Grew (1950)

The Man Who Changed China: The Story of Sun Yat-sen (1953)

For Spacious Skies (1966)

The People of Japan (1966)

To My Daughters, With Love (1967)

The Kennedy Women (1970)

China as I See It (1970)

The Story Bible (1971)

Pearl S. Buck's Oriental Cookbook (1972)

"Words of Love" (1974)[41]


East Wind:West Wind (1930)[39]

The House of Earth

The Good Earth (1931)

Sons (1933)

A House Divided (1935)

The Mother (1933)

All Men Are Brothers (1933), a translation of the Chinese classical prose epic Water Margin.

This Proud Heart (1938)

The Patriot (1939)

Other Gods (1940)

China Sky (1941)

Dragon Seed (1942)

The Promise (1943)

China Flight (1943)

The Townsman (1945) – as John Sedges

Portrait of a Marriage (1945)

Pavilion of Women (1946)

The Angry Wife (1947) – as John Sedges

Peony (1948)

The Big Wave (1948)

The Long Love (1949) – as John Sedges

The Bondmaid (1949), first published in Great Britain

Kinfolk (1950)

God's Men (1951)

The Hidden Flower (1952)

Come, My Beloved (1953)

Voices in the House (1953) – as John Sedges

The Beech Tree (1954) A Children's story

Imperial Woman (1956)

Letter from Peking (1957)

Command the Morning (1959)

Satan Never Sleeps (1962; see 1962 film Satan Never Sleeps)

The Living Reed (1963)

Death in the Castle (1965)

The Time Is Noon (1966)

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (1967)

The New Year (1968)

The Three Daughters of Madame Liang (1969)

Mandala (1970)

The Goddess Abides (1972)

All Under Heaven (1973)

The Rainbow (1974)

The Eternal Wonder, (believed to have been written shortly before her death, published in October 2013)[40]