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Journey: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – October 1, 1994

4.1 out of 5 stars 84 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Appearing for the first time in paperback, Michener's 1989 novel follows a British expedition's doomed trek across Canada during the 1897 Klondike Gold Rush.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

YA-- This book is a departure from Michener's traditional style of writing long, in-depth, historical sagas featuring one locality. Here he has taken one slice of history, the gold rush of 1897, and shown the courage of five men as they deal with adversity while trying to reach the gold. Four British aristocrats and one Irish servant start their journey in England with visions of finding gold in the wilds of Canada. It begins easily enough, but soon disaster meets them at every turn. Readers will be drawn in by the strong characterizations, the intriguing plot, and the single-minded resolve of these men to reach their dreams. A novel that gives readers a real feel for the frenzy and determination of the men associated with the gold rush--all in less than 250 pages.
- Susan Penny, St. Cecilia's School, Houston
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 323 pages
  • Publisher: Fawcett Crest Books / Ballantine Books; First Edition edition (October 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780449218471
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449218471
  • ASIN: 0449218473
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #999,605 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on July 11, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have read several James A. Michener books. For a book that is very short for Michener's usual fair, this is very good. Why? For this one, Michener sticks to one plot. No, you don't have his usual descriptive settings or his lengthy battle of some animal trying to survive. This book just tells the story. A very good story. The plot involves five men from Britain who go to Canada to get to the gold rush in 1897. There real mission is to get there by traveling only on British territory. No one has ever done that. As any one knows, traveling in Canada over mountains is not that easy. These five men will soon discover that the idea of adventure for the sake of honor may be a high price to pay. One of the reviews I saw for this book listed on Amazon, didn't like the idea of killing off some of the characters. One wrote that this book was depressing because of that. James A. Michener doesn't write anything without history backing him up. Killing off some of the characters proves how hard this journey really was. And, I am sure that some men did see this as an adventure not a suicidal journey. Some men just don't see the big picture. If you have never read a James A. Michener book, this could be a good one to start with. But, you have not read anything until you've read a Michener epic. Try Texas, Hawaii or Caribbean.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I think James Michener has a good story going here. I was impressed by some of the irony and allusion, especially Luton's stubbornness when it came to Americans, as well as taking advice from anyone after he'd already made up his mind. I think more detail and suspense could have been added, but that's strictly reader preference. The deaths of some of the characters left me feeling a bit lost as well. It was as if their death kind of snuck up on you and then wasn't talked about after about a page or so. However, the overall storyline pleased me very much. I think it personified cultural stubbornness as well as gold rushes in general. I nearly laughed out loud when reading about some of the inexperienced travelers that were trying to make their way through the Arctic (i.e. the man with the modified tractor). I was also very satisfied by the ending. It was unexpected, but complete and understandable. Also, I liked the fact that Luton stated from the beginning that he wasn't after gold and by the end he hadn't changed his mind at all. After all, the title of the book, Journey, certainly implies that the adventure and travel is the fun part of the book, not a quest for gold or a search for pride. Overall, I liked the book and thought it was a very entertaining read and believe it deserves four stars.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a short novel by Michener standards, and I believe is an off shoot of his much larger work "Alaska" ."Journey" is about the Yukon Gold Rush and three British adventurers that want to get there traveling entirely through Canadian territory. They are a competent bunch, but the environmental hardships they manage to overcome, are staggering.

A lot of people died trying to make their fortunes in the gold fields. This an excellent story of the competent and those not so much. As a side note, this is the novel that Michener uses in his work that describes how he goes about writing a novel. It is a nice companion piece and is called something like Michener's Handbook on Writing, but that isn't exactly the title. Anyway, Journey is a nice little novel.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
You can tell James Michener does his research. His knowledge about the peoples, wildlife, climates about Europe, Canada and the USA during this time is top notch and I certainly learned many things.

However, the story itself leaves much to be desired. Five guys go for the gold and find much trouble along the way. That's it in a nutshell. Now to my main problem.

Michener tells us over and over again that the lead character was going to make a decision that would be tragic for the members. He tells you this almost every other page, so that when it does happen, you aren't moved or anything. You're waiting the whole book for things to fall apart and you know they will. So the book is a test of patience, with little to make the wait worthwhile. The characters themselves are not all unlikable (particularly Harry Carpenter) but they are unbelievable.

Lord Luton is too stubborn in his decisions without reason. He obviously really wants to get to the Klondike his way. Everyone tells him it's the worst plan and would likely kill them all. Yet he refuses alternate plans. Why?? Michener never tells us why he is so stuck on this one route. Luton doesn't want to cross through American territory for some reason, but even when presented with options that would be easier and meet this criteria he refuses. Simply unbelievable. And Harry Carpenter, knowing that death may be in store for all of them, goes along with it out of some sense of loyalty. Maybe that's how people were. If so, then these characters that you are going to be spending the whole book with are either incredibly fake or incredibly irresponsible. Either option is incredibly unenjoyable.

I finished it, and while his command of the English language is stellar, the book is not. Pass on this one and read his others (Alaska, Chesapeake).
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