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Centennial (Ulverscroft large print series. [fiction]) Unknown Binding – 1976

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding: 406 pages
  • Publisher: Ulverscroft (1976)
  • ISBN-10: 0854565698
  • ISBN-13: 978-0854565696
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,049,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By M. Deal on 3 Aug. 2005
Format: School & Library Binding
Michener's majestic and sweeping history of the American West is brought to life in this epic tale of people and places thrown together by breathtaking endeavor. In Centennial Michener manages spectacularly to weave episodes of modern fictional history from the tumultuous geological events that shaped the area of Colorado millions of years previous. By telling the entire history of the American West, from the geological upheavals that formed the New Rockies, from the dinosaurs and early mammals, from the early native American inhabitants, from the fur trappers and traders, from the cowboys and from the insidious Indian wars, right through to modern man's violent manipulation of the land, Centennial is as much an evocative triumph of a novel as it is an education. The characters will become part of your life as you read about them and their adventures. You will also feel a sad sense of loss at their passing. As you read through Centennial you will gather the pace of nostalgia and the fiction will stay with as if it were fact. As for me, I read this book three times as a teenager and am now reading it again with the same fresh anticipation more than twenty years later. A true blockbuster, a story with soul, from a master storyteller and an amazing book that you shouldn't miss.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By m on 3 Nov. 2005
Format: School & Library Binding
This is an epic story requiring staying power as it long and involved. It covers the history and eventual birth of the town of Centennial and the vast area around that part of Colorado over two hundred years seen through the stories of the Indians, trappers, pioneers, cowboys, farmers, and everyone else who came to and through that state. You get swept along by the pace up to about the Depression and from there tails off a little to the present(1970's). You must read on to the end where explanations are revealed about the past.
I have read this book twice and saw the TV series in the late seventies and I have now just received a 12(all regions)DVD set of the videos (e-bay) and have just started watching thae whole series (about 20hrs) again.
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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Mar. 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Centennial is an epic tale, a saga of the old west on a huge scale. Set in the fictional town of Centennial, Colorado, on the banks of the Platte river, it is as much a story of the region as of the town. Indeed the location is a microcosm of the wild west, chosen for the richness of its history by the author James Michener, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The novel covers several thousand years, first describing the geology of the area in rich detail, then painting vivid and unforgettable pictures of its inhabitants: from the first animals, through the indians, trappers, settlers, cowboys, and farmers, to the present day.
No-one who reads Centennial will ever forget its characters: Lame Beaver, the proud Arapaho brave, who counted coup on his enemies many times, introduced the horse to his people, and retained his dignity even as the world he knew disappeared; Alexander McKeag, the solitary trapper existing alone amidst huge forbidding landscapes, dwarfed by the surrounding peaks, wracked with guilt and angst; Colonel Frank Skimmerhorn, bigot and fanatic, hater of all indians indiscriminately, and egregious hypocrite; and Levi Zendt, the outcast Amish youth who sets forth on the Oregon Trail to seek his fortune. I first read Centennial in my early teens, and I have returned to it many times - these people are as real to me as the person living next door.
Though a novel in its own right, Centennial can be regarded as a series of independent but connected stories, each story set one or two generations after its predecessor. Major characters from early chapters sometimes appear later on, much older, as minor characters; and mysteries, remaining enigmatic through the centuries, are solved hundreds of pages later.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bluecashmere. TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 26 July 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Centennial" is a most ambitious work and an impressive one, too. It was written, of course, to mark an important occasion and despite its very considerable merits, it does have that mark of a book conscious of its own lofty purpose. The framework - the professor engaged by an important New York magazine - seems to me increasingly to become a dead convention. It also seems quite unnecessary to have this artificial holding device. The links between the episodes are self-explanatory and in any case bound by the recurring characters. The life and quality of the book lies in the episodes, dramatically and vividly narrated and through a wonderfully solid sense of time and place. As another reviewer pertinently remarks the life and energy of the earlier events have a vibrancy and conviction that those that come much later cannot match. I'm uncertain whether the material dictates this division or whether Michener cannot find the same vital involvement in more recent times. I have some reservations in not giving the full five -I'd go for four and a half. I suppose it is partly a case of feeling that fives are given rather too freely, thus understating the merits of the finest, but a little more. The links creak and the life of the novel does not seem to be quite sustained through into the final sections and......................I have my touchstones! In this field, McCarthy and McMurtry and they stand alone and beyond for this reader, in the post Faulkner era.
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