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The Last Convertible

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  1,090 ratings  ·  93 reviews
Sometimes there is a golden novel that captures the spirit of a generation...and the heart of America. For millions of readers, that novel is The Last Convertible. A bestseller from the moment it was published, it is the story of five Harvard men and the women they loved-and the elegant car that came to symbolize their romantic youth. It is the story of their coming-of-age ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 522 pages
Published March 1st 1979 by Berkley (first published January 1st 1978)
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2014- You can't go home again, or at least not always. I do so love this book, but this time through, the central device struck me as a little shopworn, the ending rushed and annoying from the standpoint that these characters are summing up their lives and they are younger at the end of the book than I am now. But the achingly nostalgic tone, the homage to the music of the protagonist's adolescence, that car, oh, that car... all of that still works for me, and will keep me coming back again and ...more
Wonderful book! The Greatest Generation - from pre-war college days to post war readjustment; trying to make up for time lost and friends lost; finishing school, jobs, marriage, kids. A very personal yet sweeping view of the war, the homefront, swing, and friendships, seen through a small group of college buddies, thrown together, torn apart, and thrown together again, all held together by memories and a beautiful old Packard convertible called, The Empress. Makes you want to mix a stinger and l ...more
I've read The Last Convertible by Anton Myrer by Anton Myrer Anton Myrer several times and have thoroughly enjoyed it every time. I've just added it to my all-time favorites list. It tells the story of 5 Harvard men and the women they loved in the carefree years leading up to World War II where their biggest worries where the next dance of the Big Band Sounds of those days would be and who would be driving the huge, beautiful Packard convertible they called The Empress. Their lives are turned "upside down" with the beginning of WWII. It i ...more
This is one of my absolute favorite books... When I wish to be caught up in a time that only existed for a fragile moment in lhe lives of a select group, this is one of the best to capture the experience and anguish of joy, sorrow, love, laughter, and longing all in one. (0ther books that have the same effect for me are The Best of Families by Ellen Berlin, and Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy.) I think at least one of these is probably due for a re-read soon.
Mark Mortensen
Anton Myrer creates masterful character development in his novel revolving around Harvard students, WWII and ensuing family years filled with love, grief and personality conflicts. Following the book’s title a classic four door green late 1930’s Packard convertible nicknamed Empress is featured throughout the book providing transportation for dates, football games, Boston’s Back Bay as well as memorable jaunts to Nauset Beach on Cape Cod.
I ADORE this book. One of my all time favourites. I even found a hard copy version in an old bookstore on Cape Cod. Couldn't get more perfect. Such a good story, such good characters, oh how I wanted that car!! And would have taken Dal as well....he was the best.
I never understood my dad until I read this book. This book so completely makes you feel a part of the whole pre-WWII generation and the music that kept them going despite the great depression.

HIGHLY recommended!
Great book. I laughed and shed a few tears. In the book you follow the lives of 5 Harvard men. You meet them as they are starting there first year of college. They are normal kids. Going to school, having parties and driving to football games. Then their world turns upside down when a little thing called Pearl Harbor happens.
The book spans a 30 year time period. You follow them through the war and after. Marriage & kids. It's interesting seeing how things were then. I didn't quite understan
Robert Grant
Very good novel. This is a grand sweeping epic that is reminiscent of the style of novels that were big in the 1970's. Nostalgic, soapy, melodramatic stories that seemed to be the norm. This one stands out as one of the best from that period. Tells the story of five friends from Harvard in 1940 and we see how their lives and loves play out through the second world war years and beyond. The novel incorporates wonderful old big band songs into the story which really helps to set the time and place ...more
I read this about 20 years ago and thought it'd be nice to make a return to it. As others have noted, it chronicles a close group of "Greatest Generation" friends who meet at Harvard and the nearby women's colleges in the early 1940's. Each male character chooses a different branch of the service in which to participate in World War Two, and their stories are collectively told through the voice of George Virdon. The actual convertible ("The Empress") is the literary device to hold the friendship ...more
I always resist rating something lower than the average but I just didn't care about most of the characters in this book. Considering it is a character-driven novel and a long one at that, it felt like a failing. I did enjoy all of the WWII passages though.
I remember this book had a profound impact on me. I was reading it when I was pregnant with our first child and I'd gone back east to visit my parents. While visiting I'd wandered into my mom's sewing room where she had all her old photo albums and tho I'd been thru them a 100 times before I sat down and went thru them again and I was struck by how much her young life was like my young life. We had the same hope and desires for ourselves and our futures even tho we were separated by 30 years and ...more
I wasn't sure in the beginning because I felt it kinda dragged and there were too many characters to follow. But I eventually became invested in them and wanted to know what happened.
While parts of this book were transcendent - wonderfully written, evocative, heart-warming and heart-wrenching - the other parts dragged it down.
Lisa Gs
Favorite book of all time
Naomi Kelsey
I have hardly any memories of what this book was about, or if it's even any good. I can say I recall it being a kind of Pat Conroy / Judith Krantz hybrid, while being obviously unremarkable.

However, every single person that saw this book remarked on it and wanted to read it. I guess it is an example of a really compelling title and cover art!

Margaret Kumma
This is a very nice, slow moving story following the lives of several people. Even though there's not tons of drama or action, it still holds my attention whenever I read it, and I fall in love with each person all over again. The mini-series did not do this fine story justice.
One of my all time favorite novels. I could read it at any time. Over and over. I like the characters. I like the settings. I like the feel of the era.
Very good read, liked how we followed the friends thru college, WWII and their lives. Could have thrown Russ out the window a few times, but without Russ, a boring read.
One of the most memorable books I ever read. Beautiful story.
Diane Bell
WWII setting/coming of age story. Love this author!
one of the few books I have ever read twice. very character driven. follows the lives of friends through successive era's. with a haunting song and the last green convertible and two people that once loved each other always loved each other and should have made their lives together
Lenka Kristianová
Četla jsem po několikáté a určitě ne naposledy...
Baxter Trautman
After reading this book in my early twenties I had to call my mother, who was the same age in WWII as the book's characters, and ask if she was really as innocent as the author made her generation out to be. She assurred me they were, which dumbstruck me, but looking back thirty years later, I think even my generation in their own cynical way was just as naive. No matter the age, innocence is a function of youth, and Myrer captured that. I recently reread it for the historical content and wasn't ...more
I read this first in high school and then many times after. I am reviewing it just after reviewing Wallace Stegner's Crossing to Safety because one reminded me of the other. (Though Stegner is, of course, the superior writer). Like Crossing to Safety, it's a wonderful, insular story. This one os about a group of friends who go to Harvard together before WWII. Though the book traces the characters into the 1970s, it remains redolent of the Big Band era.

In my late teens and early twenties, I cited
Jim B
Feb 20, 2014 Jim B rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jim by: Reggie Hartmann
Recommended by a dear friend as a book that captured college life and the experience of the Greatest Generation, the students who left college to fight in World War II. The story covers up to the time when the next generation goes to Viet Nam.

The story revolves around "The Fusiliers" a group of friends from Harvard and "The Empress" a green Packard Super 8 convertible, passed back and forth to each other. Various degrees of happiness in relationships and success in life are described in realist
One of my all time favorite novels. A look at the forces that formed "the greatest generation" as they are now known.
The novel begins just prior to WWII and is set in Cambridge. The characters are pretty type cast but among them, there is someone that will resonate with each of us. They are people we know and this lets us see how they came to be these people. All set against a world in flux. This novel has a great sound track, way cool car, and relatable characters. Who could ask for more?
Sally Witt
So much better than I expected - epic!
Stephen Dutton
Cannot not recommend this book because of the explicit sex scenes. The book is rated NC-17 R. Other than that it is a great story. The dance scenes are really great if you love dancing to 1940's Big Band. He really does a great job of conveying what it must have felt like as you entered into the great war after Peal Harbor.

Given my religious views on things the ending is particularly disappointing by encouraging sex without bothering with marriage, because after all, sex = love.
An interesting coming of age novel with a tendency towards the nostalgic. I enjoyed how the author framed the events which span college through middle-age with the convertible as the constant. At times bittersweet, and at times a bit sappy, overall, a worthwhile read. I particularly enjoyed how the characters sturggle to adapt to the changing times, from wwII throughout the Kennedy years. The historic events and the characters reaction to them add another layer to the novel.
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Anton Myrer, who died of leukemia in 1996, was a best-selling author whose themes were America's loss of innocence and the use and abuse of power. He is particularly remembered for The Last Convertible (1978), a summation of the American experience during and after World War II, and for Once an Eagle (1968), which traces the life of a regular Army officer and his family from before World War I to ...more
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