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Centennial by James Michener

By Fawcett Books (publisher)

A stunning panorama of the West, Centennial is an enthralling celebration of our country, brimming with the glory and the greatness of the American past that only bestselling author James Michener could bring to stunning life. From the Native Americans, the migrating white men and women, the cowboys, and the foreigners, it is a story of trappers, traders, homesteaders, gold seekers, ranchers, and hunters--all caught up in the dramatic events and violent conflicts that shaped the destiny of our legendary West. (This book was turned into a mini-series.)



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"An epic by Michenerian standards? I think so. I read this book cover to cover a few years back when I was moving from the house that I grew up in out west (a few miles, actually) and I was fascinated by such characters as Levi Zendt, Potato Brumbaugh, Lame Beaver and Paul Garrett. I was fascinated by the description of how the locale was formed, the lives of the Native Americans and the settlers and such chapters in history as the planting of sugar beets, the Dust Bowl era and the challenges of the 1970s. I have heard that the town of Centennial is based on the real town of Greeley, located to the north of Denver, where Michener taught for awhile; moreover, a restaurant called Potato Brumbaugh's is located there--it takes its name from the novel."


"An incredible journey, and sweeping epic! Michener takes us, the readers, from the dawn of time, to the celebrtion of our counties 200th birthday. In each chapter he develops compeling characters, and weaves them through a land of real historical characters and events. By the end of the book you will have hunted with indians, danced with trappers at the rendevous, rode in a covered wagon, been on a cattle drive, and watch a town and country grow up around you. When Lame Beaver says, "Only the rocks live forever", we catch a glimpse of our place in this great tapestry called life. If you have never seen it as a mini-seriies, that Michener himself oversaw and appeared in, was made in 1975. It was the finest adaptation of a book to screen ever attempted, and followed very close to the book. The characters and places are totally fleshed out, and make the history come alive."


"James Michener's books are always a challenge to read, due to their length and intricate descriptive passages, but as in Charles Dickens' novels, the effort is worth it.

Centenntial is a fascinating story of the Old West told through many interesting characters, first the different Indian tribes who were in Colorado long before the white man, followed by the "trappers" (Pasquinel and McKeag), followed by the "pioneers" (Levi Zendt, Olvier Seccombe and Potato Brumbaugh).

The character development throughout this novel is outstanding, as well as the descriptive vistas of scenery, treacherous and beautiful as they could be, that all who came there encountered. The personal family histories of the main characters is also wonderful to read.

I highly recommend this book."


"Easily the greatest book I have ever read. It is so alive, so colorful and so wonderfully detailed. I have read it probably a dozen times and will read it again. I will strongly urge my children to read it and use it to get an understanding of what the history of this country is. I love this book and cannot imagine having a better time reading anything than I did reading this."


"My wife gave this book to me for Christmas of 1974 - stayed up two nights and three days literally consuming it with a love of his work - it stiil is one of the most favored presents of my life."


"My favorite Michener novel. The way he puts you into the history of the land makes a connection for the reader unlike any other author. After you read it you feel like you were born there."


"I read Centennial as a reading assignment for 10th grade history. I remember selecting Centennial from the list because it was a huge book and the teacher was giving extra credit which I needed Oh so badly. I also remember that once I quit moaning about how many pages it had, and started reading, I couldn't put it down. It was the first "real" novel I ever read."


"Vividly and accurately portrays Greeley's Nazi and klan underpinnings. For newcomers - those people are still here."




Author: James Michener

Released: July 12, 1974


Availability: Paperback, audio cassette

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