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Chesapeake by James A. Michener

Chesapeake (original 1978; edition 1978)

by James A. Michener

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2,446313,826 (3.95)54
Authors:James A. Michener
Info:Random House (1978), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 865 pages
Collections:Your library

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Chesapeake by James A. Michener (1978)



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Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
This book has been sitting on my shelf for a very long time.
I often got it and then put it away again, favouring another book over this one.

Last week I then finally started reading it for real, after having a 'sneak peek' of a few pages some time ago.
Unfortunately I have to say, that at 150 pages the book doesn't hold my attention anymore. I liked the beginning, the first chapters, but am absolutely no fan of what followed.

So it is with sadness that I have to admit that this book wil go on on its journey without having been completely read by me.
  BoekenTrol71 | Jun 14, 2019 |
This is the book that got me hooked on Michener. If you don't mind historical detail woven into a story than he is an author you should read. I believe I walked away from this one with a recipe for Clam Chowder and the urge to read more. I eventually dread all his books and he certainly influenced my own writing. ( )
  paulhock | Oct 17, 2017 |
Read this book maybe 30 years ago and it was one that stuck with me over all this time. I remember it being a tough read -- but so worth staying with it ( )
  skraft001 | Jun 24, 2017 |
Generations of families in the Eastern Shore of Maryland ( )
  JackSweeney | Jan 13, 2017 |
I wrote a book this fall based in a fictional town on a Chesapeake Bay estuary, and was lucky enough to take a trip to Maryland's Eastern Shore to research that book. By some great good fortune, I purchased this first edition copy of Michener's Chesapeake in St. Michael's, Maryland, where he lived as he wrote and researched this book. I've read a review or two on Goodreads sniffing that this book isn't literary. I disagree. Michener's book is everything good historical fiction should be. Strong writing, indelible characters, a sense of place, and a huge amount of research distilled into a few choice symbols, events, and conflicts. One reviewer even dismissed writing about the characters of the book because they were "types," not individuals. Did we read the same book? Rosalind Steed, a type? She is one of the more unforgettable characters I've ever read about--a powerful, complex, fearless woman living in a time when women were little more than window dressing. Singlehandedly running a sprawling series of plantations, fighting off pirates, and avenging her own children's deaths. Not exactly a "type" I'm overly familiar with in American literature, where most of our female literary characters set in the South are either belles or saints, Michener's Rosalind Steed blew my mind.

In fact, that's one of the things about Michener that shocked me. He wrote strong women, and he gave them respect to draw them as complex, deep, fiercely intelligent individuals. And it wasn't a show. I read a Vince Flynn novel last month as research into genre fiction, and I felt that his female characters were concessions, and bad ones at that. The senior female legislators had a Chardonnay club. That's what I think of when I think of as a "non-literary" book, where the author throws in a few female characters here and there to show he's game--but then reduces those female characters to types.

Another thing Michener does with remarkable skill here is write about the long and terribly legacy of slavery in Maryland. Just at the point in the book when I was beginning to question why Michener hadn't touched upon slavery from a slave's perspective came roughly four hundred pages of just that. In fact, the narrative takes us into the heart of western Africa, where Arab traders kidnapped the strongest, most intelligent tribesmembers--and where we are introduced to Cudjo, about whom we read about for quite some time, and who, again, is another complex, well-drawn character explored by Michener with none of the obvious uneasiness that someone who perhaps had been less steeped in the research might betray.

Structurally, I do think it was about 100-200 pages too long. The last section on the Watergate casualty was not necessary, though I did find the subtle development of environmental stewardship fairly compelling. But I have nothing but admiration and awe for Michener's work here. I am a failed journalist--failed because I pulled myself out of the game because I am too shy to stick a microphone in someone's face, too shy even to ask questions, sometimes. But I retain that inexhaustible interest in human beings, their stories, the history from which we come, and Michener's approach--to use research to tell part of our American story is the kind I'd love to utilize in my own work. ( )
1 vote bookofmoons | Sep 1, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
James A. Michenerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Avenick, JoeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adelson, R.Cover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Berry, SteveIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cox, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gunther, MartinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harranth, HaraldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hausner, Hans ErikTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lanzillo, GraziaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lanzillo, GraziaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marez Oyens, O. deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marez Oyens, Olga deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martin, GuntherTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weixelbaumer, IngridTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Mari Michener who cared for the geese, the herons, the ospreys and the cardinals
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For some time now they had been suspicious of him.
But a family rises or falls primarily because of the way it marshals its genetic inheritance and puts it to constructive use.
His horrible mistake had been to abandon the land which had nurtured him; men are not obligated to cling forever to the piece of land that bore them, but they had better pay attention to the principles they derived from it.
“A lot of money for six minutes’ work.” … “Five dollars for doin’, forty-five for knowin’.”
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812970438, Paperback)

"Michener's most ambitious work of fiction in theme and scope."
"Brilliantly written."
Once again James A. Michener brings history to life with this 400-year saga of America's great bay and its Eastern Shore. Following Edmund Steed and his remarkable family, who parallel the settling and forming of the nation, CHESAPEAKE sweeps readers from the unspoiled world of the Native Americans to the voyages of Captain John Smith, the Revolutionary War, and right up to modern times.

From the Paperback edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:56 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

The four-hundred-year saga of America's Eastern Shore, from its Native American roots to the present. The central scene of Michener's historical novel is that section of Maryland's Eastern shore, hardly more than 10 miles square. To this point come the founders of families that will dominate the story. A panoramic narrative of human and animal life on Maryland's Eastern Shore focuses on a ten-square-mile area at the mouth of the Choptank River and the families that settle there, from 1583 to the present.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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