Charleston and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy Used
$3.65
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by Orion LLC
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Book is lightly used with little or no noticeable damage. Unbeatable customer service, and we usually ship the same or next day. Over one million satisfied customers!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Charleston Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 2003


See all 13 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Mass Market Paperback
"Please retry"
$12.00 $0.01

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 532 pages
  • Publisher: Signet (July 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451207335
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451207333
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #639,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Though at times a historically illuminating work, Charleston, bestselling author John Jakes's fictional retelling of the title city's early history through the Civil War, remains a largely uninspiring drama. Charleston offers an account of the burgeoning city from the perspective of the fictional Bell family, whose British immigrant predecessors arrive in Charleston in 1720. The story of the family's lasting, influential link to Charleston begins with Edward, whose political ideas during the Revolution put him at odds with the town's largely loyalist population, including his brother Adrian. Edward fights bravely in the Revolution, joining an effective band of hit-and-run fighters, but is later murdered by a jilted, mentally ill lover. Charleston then leaps forward, following the fortunes of Edward's granddaughter, Alex, who adopts Edward's liberal, abolitionist views, and begins a romance with lifelong black friend Henry. As slave-revolt paranoia heightens in the South, Alex watches Charleston become an isolated, violent police state, and eventually travels north, becoming a songwriter for the abolitionists and a witness to Charleston's downfall. Jakes combines fictional characters with meticulously researched historical settings and figures to give the events of Charleston context, significance, and immediacy. But rather than relying on the simple power of history, Jakes distracts from the narrative with clumsy metaphors and exaggerated characters. --Ross Doll --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Jakes, the bestselling master of historical fiction, begins his newest saga in 1720, a mere 50 years after the first settlers occupy the still-rustic village of Charles Town at the confluence of the Ashley and Cooper Rivers, in what will become the state of South Carolina. Arriving from a primitive western trading post, Sydney Greech, a 20-year-old British immigrant, and his pretty, pregnant bride, Bess, take a more euphonious surname as they begin a new life of menial labor and spawn the Bell clan, whose successive generations will be bound up with the history and fate of Charleston. Much of the book is set between 1779 and the 1866 post-Civil War rebellion in South Carolina; it takes up the story of 21-year-old Edward Bell (grandson of Sydney) and his rivalry with his older and more devious brother, Adrian, who steals his sweetheart while Edward is studying in London. The intrigue then comes to focus on great-granddaughter Alexandra, born in 1815, who grows up to see her secret black lover murdered and travels north to become an abolitionist crusader. Members of the extended Bell family often find themselves on opposite sides of the various ideological divides that dominate the first hundred years of U.S. history, and their story is a dark tapestry of betrayal, revenge and murder as royalists clash with patriots, Unionists with Confederates. Fans of Jakes's earlier hits should find plenty of drama and antebellum flavor in this lusty epic.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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

Too bad he was reading such boring material.
William J. Tennison
I thought Charleston was a good read and couldn't wait to pick it up each day to read.
April Marie Wilson
If you like the Civil War period, this is a good book to read.
Barbara Placek

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Samantha W. Mckevitt on August 18, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I have enjoyed some of John Jakes' other historical novels in the past and was delighted that he selceted Charleston as the venue of his latest. Unfortunately, I found the book disapointing.
It is basically divided into 3 eras starting with the American Revolution to "young America" in the early 1800s to the Civil War. What usually makes Jakes so talented is his ability to link generations for seamless story telling. I really didn't find that here. It was more like 3 loosely connected stories that did not relate the way they should have. The novel was also missing a likable hero. None of the family members were that pleasant and I found myself not really caring about them. The book would have been much improved by having likable people!
The section dealing with the era preceeding the Civil War is well written and captures a divisive time. As usual with Jakes, figures from US history walk across the pages (Frederick Douglass, the Grimke sisters). I almost hope Jakes writes another book about this great city, but with a stong likable family.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Corinne H. Smith VINE VOICE on August 25, 2002
Format: Hardcover
...and John Jakes is one of its master craftsmen. This volume is the multigenerational saga of the fictitious Bell family of Charleston, South Carolina. Its timeline runs from 1720 to 1866 and thus covers a host of tumultuous times in the Low Country community.
_Charleston_ is divided into three "books." Book One sees Edward Bell fighting on the side of the American Revolution, both before and after Charleston's surrender to the British. Those of us with northern upbringing and education tend to equate the Revolution with Massachusetts in April 1775, not South Carolina in 1781. Either we never learned that Charleston fell to the British in that war, or we had no idea what that meant. Of course, the battle of the colonists versus the loyalists divides the Bell family as well, and the rift seems to widen as the decades pass. Book Two follows Alexandra Bell, her brother Hampton, and their cousins Ouida and Gibbes as they react to slavery issues and take sides in the ever-escalating debate between nullification and Unionism. Standard history books will tell you that this period is technically pre-Civil War, but it's far from a time of peace and non-violence for the Bells and other Carolinians. Alexandra moves north to join the abolitionist crusade while her brother and cousins go in different directions. Book Three covers the constant Civil War bombing of Charleston and its eventual surrender to Union forces. We trace the paths of the older Bell cousins as Alexandra comes back home, and son and nephew Calhoun Hayward spends time in several military prisons in Delaware and Ohio. Even after the war is over, divisions continue. Some residents are eager to rebuild and start over, and some can't get past a consuming blaming and hatred of Yankees.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Timothy J. Kindler VINE VOICE on October 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Jakes is the master of the historical fiction genre. The North & South trilogy and the Bicentennial series were outstanding. I had high hopes for Charleston but was left a bit disappointed. If one is looking for a book that is primarily a history of Charleston, then this book is for you. If on the other hand, you are looking for a great story that that just happens to be set in Charleston from the colonial period through the civil war (as I was), then this work by Jakes falls short. The book covers many, many decades with a clear emphasis on historical fact rather than spinning a compelling tale. It is far from a complete washout, but at the same time it is definitely not up there with his best works.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 25, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Being a big fan of John Jakes, I purchased his latest novel in anticipation of getting lost in one of his classic historical tales. While Charleston is an interesting story, I don't feel that it is the same quality as his other work. As always, I appreciated the attention to detail and the unique perspective Jake's characters bring to history. The problem was that I failed to connect with any of them and at times had to look back to remember who they were and their relationships to each other. It felt like the book consisted of separate stories with very little to tie them together. It's a good story, just not up to what I had hoped it to be.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jose C. Clemente III on November 27, 2002
Format: Hardcover
As someone who has followed John Jakes through his Kent Family Chronicles to the North and South trilogy and the subsequent novels, I found myself a bit disoriented by Charleston.
The book seems hurried and tries to fit so many events and so much history into one novel. And a short novel (by Jakes' standards, at least) at that. I felt that he could have taken more time to unravel the story aspect as opposed to the history aspect of the book.
I don't know if Jakes is starting to wind down but his latest novels are losing the detail and thoroughness that marked his earlier books. It feels like he's coasting. Which is sad considering that Jakes is one of America's premier historical novelists.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I love historical fiction, but this book was not easy to finish. It started out in a reasonably diverting fashion, but as soon as the part set in the Revolution period was finished, it went downhill fast. The author's writing style of using short, choppy sentences reminded me of a third grade reader at times. There was little surprise in the events depicted; all the good characters were good in a politically correct way, and all the bad were similarly bad. Whole families defined what the author wanted the reader to conclude was bad or good. Complexity is beyond the ability of the politically correct, and it is certainly beyond this author. No wonder he is reportedly a best-selling author; he thinks about as well as does the common herd. I now remember why I generally avoid historical fiction with a setting in this country; the authors all tend to have the same utterly predictable take on events of the past. The second star was generously given for the occasional bit of information about Charleston included in the eminently forgettable tale.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?