Thomas Steinbeck , one of two sons of the famed author John (The Grapes of Wrath ) Steinbeck who served in the Vietnam War, died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease on August 11 at age 72. After returning from Vietnam, Thomas Steinbeck became a documentary filmmaker, screenwriter, and author. His first book, a collection of short stories called Down to a Soundless Sea , was published in 2002. He subsequently wrote the novels In the Shadow of the Cypress (2010) and The Silver Lotus (2011).
He had studied animation at the California Institute of the Arts and film at UCLA before joining the Army during the Vietnam War. Thomas Steinbeck served in Vietnam as an Armed Forces Radio and Television journalist, as well as a helicopter door gunner in 1968.
His younger brother, John Steinbeck IV (1946-1991), was drafted into the Army in 1965 and also served as an AFVN radio journalist, as well as a war correspondent for the Army. After his honorable discharge John Steinbeck IV returned to Vietnam in 1968 and worked for the antiwar Dispatch News Service with Sean Flynn. He wrote a Vietnam War memoir, In Touch , in 1969. His posthumous second memoir, The Other Side of Eden , came out in 2001.