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Centennial Paperback – Apr 1976


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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1104 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi; New edition edition (April 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552099457
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552099455
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 10.9 x 4.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,847,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Library Journal

A runaway best seller, Michener's Centennial was written as a tribute to America's bicentennial celebration. The book's 900 pages cover 136 million years. Centennial is an epic novel of the history, land, and people of Colorado. Centered around the fictional town of Centennial, the story contains an extensive cast of characters including Native Americans, French fur trappers, English noblemen, and American cowboys. Providing lively narrative against Michener's skillfully researched canvas are people like Levi and Ellie Zendt, who left the confining life of the Pennsylvania Dutch only to find terror and uncertainty on the trip west, and the Garrett family, whose yearly struggle to farm the land was met time and again with defeat. However, much of Michener's remarkable accomplishment is lost in this abridgment. Although the listener gets the main thrust of the story line, the strength and beauty of the original are lost. David Dukes's plodding narration is equally dull. Most libraries should stick with the print version.
- Gretchen Browne, Rockville Centre P.L., N.Y.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

Review

“A hell of a book . . . While he fascinates and engrosses, Michener also educates.”Los Angeles Times
 
“An engrossing book . . . imaginative and intricate . . . teeming with people and giving a marvelous sense of the land.”The Plain Dealer
 
“Michener is America’s best writer, and he proves it once again in Centennial. . . . If you’re a Michener fan, this book is a must. And if you’re not a Michener fan, Centennial will make you one.”The Pittsburgh Press
 
“An absorbing work . . . Michener is a superb storyteller.”BusinessWeek --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Maurice A. Rhodes TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 26 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is another massive Michener epic charting the imaginary town of Centennial near Greeley, Colorado from the earliest days to the date of publication. These are fine books if you are interested in the history of a specific area such as the South Platte River basin where the action centers. It deal well with the various waves of immigrants (sometimes intruders). Michener has a talent for blending the physical description of a place with the hopes and fears and feelings of those who live there. One thing struck me with both this novel and a companion piece, Texas. That is the difference in how the native aboriginals were treated in each case. Not that Canada has anything to be proud of, but at least it seems better than murder and extermination which was the public policy in the US. The other difference in settling the West is that in the US the west was often populated by ex-Confederate soldiers who, perhaps had a bone to pick, consequently one is impressed by the law of the gun rather than the rule of law. Perhaps the difference is because the Hudson Bay Company, whose prime interest was the fur trade, nevertheless the HBC had a hazy mandate to bring order to the lands over which they were granted suzerainty. In due course, when the American whiskey runners opened Fort Whoop-up (near the present location of Lethbridge) this outrageous traffic spurred the 'Long Trek' of the newly-formed Royal North West Mounted Police across the prairie to send the whiskey traders scuttling back to Fort Benton, near the present Great Falls, Montana.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. Feld on June 20 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's a tossup between "The Source" and "Centennial" for my favorite James Michener book. While "The Source" got me really interested in the Middle East, "Centennial" turned my attention in a big way towards the American Indian and the West. As I mentioned in my Amazon review of "The Source," back in my early teens I thought that the length of a book somehow corresponded to its difficulty level, so I thought that if I could read a 1,000+ page book, then I must be REALLY smart and also grown up! Anyway, the very first book I decided to read, based on these sophisticated criteria, was "Centennial," by James Michener.
I quickly (and happily) found out that the book was not hard to read at all, and also that it was fascinating and highly entertaining. I read it like I was watching a movie! I strongly remember being completely engrossed as the centuries flew past, as lands rose and fell, as man came to North America, and eventually as the Indians and Europeans fought it out for control of the West. I definitely remember that this was a very different perspective on American history vis-a-vis the Indians than I was getting from Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone on TV.
Some people have criticized James Michener for not being a particularly sophisticated writer, or the most elegant prose stylist ever. Well, that may be, but Michener sure could collect a ton of information, he sure could spin a great yarn, and he sure could get you hooked on the topic at hand -- the American West, the Middle East, South Africa, Hawaii, outer space. James Michener is summer reading at its (intelligent and entertaining) best.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Len Feder on July 23 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Centennial is a fictional town in Colorado, and Michener gives us a fictional but truth-based history of it, from prehistoric times to the recent past. He makes up characters and tells us interesting stories about them that illustrate the true history of Colorado.
One part of the book that I appreciated and enjoyed, but other reviewers apparently didn't, was the prehistoric part. Michener gave us, as his character, a dinosaur, or a beaver, or a little horse, and made the animal real for us for a few pages. In a cute and efficient use of his creativity, Michener brought back the subterranean cave of our beaver in prehistory and re-used it to stuff the dead body of a murder victim in one of his later episodes.
My favorite character in the book is the brave Indian named Lame Beaver. To me, the glory of Colorado's history is the time when the Arapaho Indians roamed the land and hunted buffalo.
Essentially this is a book of short stories tied together by geography and family ties. I'd have to say that this fact is the weakness of the book for me. There is something satisfying about following one character, and one storyline, from beginning to end. Take Lord of the Rings by Tolkien. At the beginning, the problem of the power ring is posed, the evil Sauron searching for his power ring to enable him to take over the world, the ring being found by a gentle harmless hobbit. At the end, this dilemma is solved, the ring dealt with, Sauron dealt with, story over. But in Michener's writing, you don't have a unifying character and plot. You have a series of changing characters and stories.
I'd much rather be immersed in the story of Lame Beaver and his battles than be burdened with the late Twentieth Century problems of pollution and smog. And there is something maudlin about getting drunk and melancholy over the past, as Michener's final character does in the last chapter. It is also what the book as a whole does.
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