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American Dreams Unknown Binding – 1998


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Product Details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: Dutton Book; 1st Printing edition (1998)
  • ASIN: B003HFVFDG
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)

More About the Author

John Jakes (b. 1932), the author of more than a dozen novels, is regarded as one of today's most distinguished writers of historical fiction. His work includes the highly acclaimed Kent Family Chronicles series and the North and South Trilogy. Jakes's commitment to historical accuracy and evocative storytelling earned him the title of "the godfather of historical novelists" from the Los Angeles Times and led to a streak of sixteen consecutive New York Times bestsellers. Jakes has received several awards for his work and is a member of the Authors Guild and the PEN American Center. He and his wife, Rachel, live on the west coast of Florida.

Customer Reviews

I may have to reread them since it was years ago I read them.
mom
As with all books by Mr. Jakes will be enjoyed by anyone that loves historical novels.
Amazon Customer
The characters were not given as much depth, and the story was somewhat simplistic.
Marisa James

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 3, 1999
Format: Hardcover
As most people of my acquaintance know, in my eyes, John Jakes is king. His characters never fail to intrigue; his seamless insertion of historical facts never cease to amaze, and his intermingling of fictional characters and real-life personages is his unequaled specialty. The eight-book series, "The Kent Family Chronicles," along with the "North & South Trilogy," remain my all-time favorites in the genre of historical fiction. These are the very books that inspired me to try my hand at novel writing. For that alone, Mr. Jakes has my undying gratitude and admiration.
Needless to say, any and all new offerings by this extraordinary talent are eagerly anticipated. And how I eagerly anticipated "American Dreams," which begins where the marvelous "Homeland" ended, albeit a few years later.
I will admit, I experienced mild disappointment when first I began reading. Oh, not that the characters, storyline, and historical details are anything but typical Jakes magic, but I was expecting the novel to feature Paul Crown, the young man who (in "Homeland") immigrated from Germany to Chicago in the late 1800s to make a new life for himself as a moving-picture camera operator during the Spanish/American war. Since Paul had proven himself a worthy lead character, I was hoping this sequel would dwell on his further adventures. Certainly, Paul does make an appearance, but in "American Dreams" he has been relegated to more of a minor role. Mr. Jakes, instead, has opted to feature Paul's cousins from Homeland, Fritzi Crown, and, to a lesser degree, her brother Carl.
My disappointment, thankfully, was short-lived. It soon becomes clear that Fritzi Crown is worthy of the starring role she is given.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ana Maria Barrenechea on May 18, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
John Jakes has done it again. Starting with "Homeland", he continues the Crown family saga. This time, the background is set in the first quarter of the 20th Century, with the beginning of the pictures, aviation, racing, etc.
Through the different paths the Crown children have followed, we learn of how hard and exciting life was during those years. Be it movie making, or racing or even aviation, grounds were being broken in every field thanks to new inventions and daring men and women.
Again, the author has used his master storytelling to present to us the characters, their ideals and struggles and how the each strived to live their life at their fullest.
Great writing and storytelling, great book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 12, 2002
Format: Audio Cassette
I started reading this book for a project and ended up not wanting to put it down. This was my first exposure to anything that Jakes has written and I am already looking forward to reading his other books. He weaves in historical facts without the reader even realizing what he has done. This book gives the reader a feel for the time period right before the first world war, and by the end, the reader feels almost as if they could have lived through it themselves. This book was both exciting to read and educational. A welcome surprise!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 5, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
What a true disappointment...this book was long awaited, since Homeland was a mark of acheivement. Unlike Homeland, The North & South Trilogy, California Gold and the Kent Family Chronicles (I'm a Jakes FAN!), this book lost its steam before it even started. The only interesting focus was that of Paul Crown and his assistant, as they filmed WWI. Everything else was a drab attempt at trying to give the other characters interesting lives. There was too much jumping around, and not enough of character growth/evolution. Stagnant and wimpy, a real downer.
Will heartily recommend any other book by Jakes...he's my History Man!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 11, 1998
Format: Hardcover
American Dream was a quick and delightful read. Mr. Jakes transports the reader to another time (years leading up to World War I). This was an era for which I learned the "Bare Bones" historical facts in school, but never the pulse. Turn-of-the-century political, social, labor, popular history never made this much sense. Mr. Jakes adds the "Life" to the history lessons learned in school. He weaves historical figures into the lives of his fictional characters, like no other author. Fritzi, Paul and Carl Crown don't just observe the upheavals of their time, they live it. I gained a new appreciation for Henry Ford and the birth of the American Auto Industry. The insight into the early days of the silent films and the birth of Hollywood, was a treat.
The dedication to historical accuracy is fundamental and a delight to behold. Mr. Jakes is the leading writer of American Historical Fiction and I look forward to the next installment in his trip through American history. Thank you for a wonderful experience.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Samantha W. Mckevitt on December 6, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was so excited to learn that there was a sequel to Homeland. Unlike that novel, however, this one cannot stand on its own. Homeland is just a much more broad sweeing epic with vivid characterization.
In Homeland we see the character of Paul Crown grow as an individual. There is no such characterization here. Fritzi is likable and intersting, but lacks the connection the reader will feel to Paul. Likewise, Paul's other cousin, Carl seems so one dimensional. Jakes make frequent references to Carl's clumsiness. That seems to be his stand out trait. Alot of the episodes here seem familair- the wealthy young woman with a forebodding father, Joe Sr's wrath at his children's careers/goals, a path of self discovery. It is all the same as homeland.
Meanwhile the principal characters from that novel, Paul, Joe Senior, Ilsa feel like guest stars in a television show. The younger generation is lacking somehow.
That being said, this is a good historical novel if you are interested in the turbulent years preceeding WWI. I would have liked seeing more how Joe Senior (a native German) felt about the brewing winds of war...
This was disapointing, but not entirely w/o merit.
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