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Centennial Mass Market Paperback – February 12, 1987
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From Library Journal
A runaway best seller, Michener's Centennial was written as a tribute to America's bicentennial celebration. The book's 900 pages cover 136 million years. Centennial is an epic novel of the history, land, and people of Colorado. Centered around the fictional town of Centennial, the story contains an extensive cast of characters including Native Americans, French fur trappers, English noblemen, and American cowboys. Providing lively narrative against Michener's skillfully researched canvas are people like Levi and Ellie Zendt, who left the confining life of the Pennsylvania Dutch only to find terror and uncertainty on the trip west, and the Garrett family, whose yearly struggle to farm the land was met time and again with defeat. However, much of Michener's remarkable accomplishment is lost in this abridgment. Although the listener gets the main thrust of the story line, the strength and beauty of the original are lost. David Dukes's plodding narration is equally dull. Most libraries should stick with the print version.
- Gretchen Browne, Rockville Centre P.L., N.Y.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“A hell of a book . . . While he fascinates and engrosses, Michener also educates.”—Los Angeles Times
“An engrossing book . . . imaginative and intricate . . . teeming with people and giving a marvelous sense of the land.”—The Plain Dealer
“Michener is America’s best writer, and he proves it once again in Centennial. . . . If you’re a Michener fan, this book is a must. And if you’re not a Michener fan, Centennial will make you one.”—The Pittsburgh Press
“An absorbing work . . . Michener is a superb storyteller.”—BusinessWeek
Top customer reviews
Only a few things bothered me throughout the entire program and they had nothing to do with this amazing story, but were distracting enough to make me laugh out loud sometimes. First, I have seen high school makeup departments do a better job of applying stage makeup, greying of the hair and latex aging effects. Good grief, the makeup and aging of the characters was downright laughable. Also, when a man dies he really should stop obviously breathing!
The DVD set consists of six disks. Two episodes per disk, with the first chapter "Only The Rocks Live Forever" and the final chapter "The Scream of the Eagles" running two and half hours. All of the other episodes clock in at 90 minutes. There is a bonus feature on disk 2 called "Memories of Centennial" which is very good. We get interviews with various cast members recalling their days filming this magnificent epic. (Barbara Carrera who plays Clay Basket is still stunning!!)
The story itself is simply amazing. The cast is pitch perfect, and once seen you will never forget the characters you are introduced to.
I don't want to give out any spoilers by retelling any of the storyline. If interested, there are numerous reviews here that go into great detail. Everyone should be familiar with this tale, as it is OUR story. A true American tale, warts and all. This series will truly have you laughing, crying and cheering. At times you will be proud of our American heritage and the men who forged this country. And at times you will want to hang your head in shame at the high cost so many people paid so that a new nation could be born.
I was going to deduct 1 star from my rating for the final chapter "The Scream of the Eagles". While not awful, it only links to the preceeding chapters in setting. Some familiar last names pop up, but the final chapter is basically like a "clip show" from a great TV series. Andy Griffith running around modern day Centennial with Sharon Gless gets kind of dull. I'm sure that when this aired on TV, it was probably nice to re-visit clips of Pasquinel, Alexander McKeag, Levi Zendt etc. because they hadn't been part of the series for several weeks, but on DVD the flashbacks are basically rehashing scenes you had seen either days or hours earlier, and it feels as though the last chapter is 80% padding and 20% environmental message. I thought the final scene in the chapter "The Winds of Death" would have made a perfect ending. But I couldn't deduct a star from my review, the series taken as a whole is worth 5-stars and the DVD treatment looks wonderful.
This type of TV is no longer around, and it's a real shame, but luckily these fantastic shows are now available on DVD. Do yourself a favor, and pick up "Centennial", just let the saga unfold, and enjoy the story of America.
Now I remember why I got into Michener at all. Some, if not most, start at the beginning-of-time and come forward. It's a, what seems to be, well researched history lesson wrapped around a story. Centennial has it all.
You can learn about the Rockies, Buffalo, Native Americans, horses, steer, immigrants-of-the-day, and the great dust bowl of the thirties. And yada-yada-yada. At the end, the town of Centennial mostly goes away like the Island in Chesapeake.
At the end the book goes away too, but you have learned (or re-learned) history . . . in this case Colorado.