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CHESAPEAKE Mass Market Paperback – Aug 12 1984


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Mass Market Paperback, Aug 12 1984
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Fawcett (Aug. 12 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449206688
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449206683
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 10.7 x 4.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Howard on Jan. 27 2004
Format: Paperback
The more Michener I read the more I want to read. CHESAPEAKE is one of Michener's best. Following four established families from the beginning of American colonization and into the 70's, JM provides many perspectives into the Maryland's eastern shore. The primary families are made up of boat builders, plantation owners, watermen, and a black family beginning with a kidnapped slave. Fascinating stuff.
JM begins with the degeneration of the indigenous Indians and shows how colonization was destined to dominate less industrialized populations. The Indians didn't stand a chance. Usually, Michener is light on the characterization, but I would say he milked the characters to the bone with this one. Just keep in mind, the story is about the development and socialization of the region, not so much the individual characters. Though these characters are not given short shrift by any means.
I had always heard CHESAPEAKE was one of JM's best works, but at this point I would say I liked TEXAS and then CENTENNIAL better. Great stuff here. I hope to read all of Michener's novels.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S.T.Waller on March 3 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Two books I've recently read and love, though they have NOTHING to do with one another and are total opposites, are, CHESEAPEAKE and the short story collection that knocked my socks off titled CHILDREN'S CORNER by Jackson McCrae. I've just put our boat on the Eastern Shore and finally got around to reading the Mitchner (why did I wait so long?). It is a outstanding story about our beginnings presented in story form. The way Michner introduces his characters keeps you involved and interested throughout 900 pages.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is among my favourites but not as good as his Hawaii. I have read most or many of his books twice and always find them to be entertaining and educational. I keep a copies close at hand.
This is a nice 1000 page historical novel that gives a very detailed picture of the evolution of the region. This is a geographical area close to the main US population centers but an area often missed by residents and visitors. I lived for a while in Maryland and I found that I was visiting just a fraction of the area described in the book.
I some ways the book is hard to review since his books have a similar structure and feel. So it boils down to do you want to read this type of book - 1000 pages, do you like his style, and are you interested in this- the general DC area and eastern Maryland?
Michener's books use a common plot formula that starts out by telling a story that in some way reflects and utilizes accurately the actual or known historical developments and time lines and people of a region. It progresses through the development of the region adding in settlers, farmers, plantations, fisherman, business people, adding in more characters and phasing out as time moves forward up to current times.
When I decided to review this book I was not certain if people were still interested in buying this book but I was pleased to see that there is still interest at Amazon.com in buying and reading this great story.
Good read and a good gift in the Michener tradition. Once you start be prepared to read with joy until finishing all 1000 pages.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
James Michener's novels generally tell the story of a geographical location - sometimes large, sometimes small - through a fictional set of interrelated characters. Chesapeake (perhaps a more accurate title would have been Choptank, but never mind) follows the careers of three families living on the eastern shore of this great bay. The Steeds: Rich, well-educated pro-slavery plantation owners, forced to take the lead in the Revolution even though they considered themselves royalists. The Turlocks: uneducated, racist slavers/pirates/privateers, living off the land, poaching and killing Natives, English, and runaway slaves. The Paxmores: Quaker shipbuilders, lynchpins of the underground railway and moral voices of the Choptank area.
The timeframe is from the 15th century to Watergate. Multiple generations of these three families come and go. In spite of the huge numbers of characters, Michener manages to keep everything clear. Each chapter is basically a short story - one is the story of a slave brought from Africa, sold to the Steeds, who eventually buys his freedom. Another is the story of a Turlock privateer's running feud with a British captain through the War of 1812 and beyond. These short stories are all interwoven in a larger narrative that develops the land and history of the Chesapeake.
For my money, Chesapeake is a well-crafted tale, seamlessly intertwining the individual stories into a coherent whole. Michener does a much better job here than with, for example, the disjointed Caribbean. My only complaint is the fact that the last two chapters are extremely weak - rambling, self-indulgent, and without focus. However, as this is only 100 pages of a 1000 page book, there is so much more to like that I recommend it to anyone. Even those, like me, who previously had little interest in the area and who have never visited the Chesapeake.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
"This book is a novel, and to construe it as anything else would be an error," commences Michener in his story covering 394 years of life on the Chesapeake Bay. With this short, direct statement the author releases himself from rendering any obligatory factual information. The wordy writer, however, can't help himself from bringing the reader as much accurate historical information as comfortably possible in this 1,024 page book.
From the broad shouldered Susquehannock outcast Pentaquod who becomes a tribe leader of the Choptanks to the Roman Catholic outcast Edmund Steed who becomes the cornerstone of the Maryland Colony to the well-muscled African Cudjo who becomes the ray of hope for all Maryland slaves before the Emancipation Proclamation, Michener takes the reader through time, marking milestones with strong-willed heroes who stood fast against prevalent social mores. This gives the reader a deeper understanding of why historical events turned out as they did.
The author also provides a medley of sinister characters, devious families, and pious personalities, which keeps the story alive and invigorates the reader for reading yet another page.
The key character is the Chesapeake Bay, as it endures naval battles, life-ending rain storms and pollution. In the end, the Bay flexes its muscle to reveal how many more times powerful it is than any of Michener's characters presumed.
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