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CHESAPEAKE Mass Market Paperback – Aug 12 1984

4.5 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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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: 4.5 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews
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Product Description


“Another of James Michener’s great mines of narrative, character and lore.”The Wall Street Journal
“[A] marvelous panorama of history seen in the lives of symbolic people of the ages . . . an emotionally and intellectually appealing book.”The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Michener’s most ambitious work of fiction in theme and scope.”The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Magnificently written . . . one of those rare novels that are enthusiastically passed from friend to friend.”—Associated Press --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

"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. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a more a collection of related short stories than a novel. Of the short stories, two are good. Not very happy with the portrayal of Quakers as the best people in the world. I have friends (no pun intended) that grew up in MD and they never met a Quaker. And why tell the story about Quakers meeting Hitler and buying the freedom of 25,000 Jews when it never happened? Odd. On top of all of this the stories lack depth and very little actual history is related. Honestly, Hawaii and Centennial are great, great works. This is a potboiler. Better to read an actual potboiler than this one. Wasn't there an editor? Or, was he so famous at this point that he could hand in any old thing?
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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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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 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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