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Legacy: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – July 12, 1988


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Fawcett; Reprint edition (July 12, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449216411
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449216415
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,251,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This timely short novel uses the Iran-contra affair as its point of departure to examine how the Constitution has influenced the United States and its citizens over the years. The central figure is Norman Starr, a West Point graduate and an Army officer whose cloak-and-dagger involvement with Nicaragua rebel activities is to be subjected to Senate investigation. In preparation for his defense, Starr and his lawyer examine Starr's family, attempting to prove the long tradition of patriotism, beginning with Jared Starr, who fought in the Revolutionary War and was involved in the preliminaries for drafting the Constitution. Other Starr family members argued the slavery question and fought for women's suffrage. Michener raises challenging questions in this book about our living Constitution. Essential. Literary Guild dual main selection. Joan Hinkemeyer, Englewood P.L., Col.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“Michener has left his own legacy. . . . [He] is an educator, not just in history but in ethics, and like any good educator, he’s not afraid to confront a complex world.”—Edward Rutherfurd, Chicago Tribune
 
“Michener tells interesting stories about the Constitution, even if they are fiction. He brings the document alive. . . . Each tale is told with the Michener flair.”—United Press International
 
“An impressive amount of historical drama . . . Captivating historical vignettes [are] woven skillfully within Starr’s talks with his loving wife and loyal attorney.”Kirkus Reviews
 
“A revealing book . . . about the forging of the Constitution and the crises that shaped it.”—Associated Press

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Customer Reviews

In short, this is a book for Michener completists only.
mrliteral
I will say the historical aspects of the book were well researched and not dull, but just not what I was expecting.
Danielle Choffrey
Michener does an excellent job of tying together the facts and his own fiction.
Ellen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Ellen on November 15, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I truly relished this book! This was my first Michener novel and I plan on reading many more. The book did an excellent job of portraying the events of history. One may think that a novel involving history would be very dry and uninteresting. This one will prove those people wrong. A lot of American history with a twist of a modern-day tale proves to be entertaining.
The introduction "The Starrs" acquaints the reader with the main problem at hand. Norman Starr, a decorated solider is to go to trial on Monday in front of a Senate committee. His lawyer recommends that he learn all about his ancestor's roles in American history. The novel then takes the reader through stories of seven of his ancestors. Through his searching records and discovering their attributes, Norman gains vigor to fight his own accusations.
The first narrative is of Jared Starr, a lively and intelligent man who signed the Declaration of Independence and helped to develop the idea of a strong, central government. His son, Simon took over his father's role at the Constitutional Convention. There are numerous notes and observations written by Simon during the convention. Simon's son, Edmund, earned the rank of major in the Revolutionary War and obtained a seat on the Supreme Court. He eventually became Justice Starr. Next in line was Hugh Starr. He attended West Point and was active in the military during the Civil War. Due to his keen mind and bravery, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel Starr, Army of the Confederacy. So far the legacy has passed through the men of the family; however, the daughter of Hugh Starr is next in the family legacy. Emily Starr was a major participant in the Woman's Suffrage movement. The last male was Richard Starr, who was Norman's grandfather.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By David Zampino VINE VOICE on May 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
. . . look at American Constitutional history by one of the 20th century's premier storytellers.

I'll freely admit it. I've been a huge fan of James Michener for at least 25 years -- but, up until now, have never reviewed one of his novels.

When I picked up "Legacy", I honestly didn't know what to expect. Written in honor of the 200th anniversary of the Constitution of the United States, Michener uses a fictional American soldier, caught up in the very real politics of the 1980's, and uses that soldier's musings about his own distinguished ancestors -- and their participation in many key moments of American history -- especially those that relate to the formation and subsequent development of the Constitution. I found these reflections to be a moving and effective way for Michener to make his point.

And what is that point? That for all its flaws, the Constitution of the United States has stood the test of time as one of the greatest political documents ever conceived by mankind. Originally, I felt that the inclusion of the text of the Constitution at the end of the novella was "padding" -- and readers of my other reviews know how I feel about "padded" books!

But upon concluding the story, I found myself re-reading the text of the Constitution -- and spending time in reflection.

I suspect that Michener would have approved.

My highest recommendation.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By David A. Spearman VINE VOICE on May 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a short note in Michener's style of novels, it ties a family into their past back to the Constitution, but always just near to the main characters as we know our history. It also has the constitution at the end of the novelette and a preview of Alaska. All in all it could be said this was a writing for profit. I don't believe that to be fact. Looking deeply it tells a wonderful story of "could have been" based on true history. The constitution is very good reading for all in our country. I am sad to say that most of our young people have never read it. This would be a stellar book for a high school history class, sadly I don't beleive the interest would be there not only from students but the faculty themselves. there are always the exceptions to all in life so we hope the percentage that do read and understand what our forefathers did we may have to do also. The story depicts the honor we must all have for our country.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By R. Quarles on January 3, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Wonderfully quick historical fiction about early American History and the framing of the US Constitution. I use it as the class novel for my 10th grade American History class (I'm a teacher). It's relatively short, easy to follow and fun when you already know the history!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By E. Lipinski on October 3, 2012
Format: Paperback
I have read all the reviews on this book and the majority of the reviews unfavorably compare this book to other Michener works. It is shorter than those and subsequently has less depth than those, agreed it is less than those books in girth. I prefer to judge this book on its own. The aspect I like about this book is that in novel format it takes the reader through the moments in time when amendments were made to the constitution. The quick read nature of the book makes it a valid offering to give a brief history of how we got here. This is hard to come by in our current era of highly polarized politics and supporting journalism.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read many books by Michener over the years and this was certainly not among his best works. It felt contrived and manufactured and not really believable at all. The back story concerning a :"present day" individual who was being investigated for his role in the Iran-Contra affair was also very irritating - especially since that part of the story was left unresolved. In fact, it seemed to imply that since the individual was a member of a family with a long historical tradition that he couldn't possibly be guilty even while everything that was said about that part of the story made it clear that he probably deserved to be in prison for multiple felonies.

Beyond that, the author's style in this book heavily deviated from many of his past works. It was if he was in a hurry to get the book done and really didn't care that his prose style was stilted and awkward as he tried to weave between the past and the "present".

So I didn't like it very much. But it was just one book and I have other's by this author on my shelf that I will be reading in coming months that I know will be better than this one.
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