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The Drifters

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  4,324 ratings  ·  259 reviews
In his triumphant best seller, James Michener unfolds a powerful and poignant drama of six young runaways adrift in a world they have created out of dreams, drugs, and dedication to pleasure. With the sure touch of a master, Michener pulls us into the dark center of their private world, whether it's in Spain, Marrakech, or Mozambique, and exposes the naked nerve ends with ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 768 pages
Published 1972 by Fawcett (first published January 1st 1971)
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- Kids today! I wonder if the 70s won't be even worse than than the 60s. Honestly, you don't know what to think, dropping out of school, letting their hair grow, rock and roll music, free love, drugs...

- Another martini?

- Oh, why not! Thank you. As I was saying, I don't understand young people any more, as they would say, I just don't "get" them...

- Have you read the new James Mitchener? The Drifters?

- No?

- You should take a look at it, he'll answer your questions. Great piece of work. A bit sho
Sarah Frey
I can say with ease that this is my favorite book of all time. I read this book as a teenager and if it had done anything for me it instilled a vital desire to travel the world, especially Europe. The story-line is placed in front of a backdrop of rich European sites and culture that makes the reader crave the warm air of the Mediterranean. On top of this, the novel goes in depth to look at the politics and social conflicts of the late 1960's. It follows six very different travelers from six ver ...more
Helen Bothwell
This book made me want to travel! Michener paints many pictures of places I'd love to visit, but also does not leave out the grimy side of the 60s-70s. The ending is a particularly vivid reminder that the flower children were much more (and much less) than sunny, idealic people full of love. He does a great job of portraying this generation from many viewpoints so that the reader can gain an understanding of the vibrancy and excitement of embarking on this new path of freedom, but also shows th ...more
May 07, 2013 Emerline rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
"Kẻ khờ dại thì phiêu dạt, người khôn ngoan thì phiêu du."
-- Thomas Fuller --

Ở tuổi trung niên, George Fairbanks là một chuyên viên phân tích đầu tư thành đạt, làm việc cho ngân hàng World Mutual. Công việc dẫn ông qua lại giữa bao miền đất: nước Mỹ đang bùng nổ phong trào phản chiến, Cộng hòa Vwarda giữa cuộc chuyển giao chính trị giữa người da trắng và da đen, thiên đường nắng ấm phía nam Tây Ban Nha, xứ Bồ Đào Nha hoang sơ như đóng băng giữa thời gian, rừng rậm châu Phi mùa mưa ào ạt,... Chín
Laura Alfaro
The Drifters is the life I wish I'd had before getting married, having children, experiencing divorce and now playing it safe with a job, grown children and a mortgage. Joe, the main character from the US, is my hero. He epitomizes basic qualities of character that as you travel with him, you realize this guy is no saint but he's got heart. And he is loyal and kind, assertive and strong, and reasonable. But you'll have to read the book to know why.

James did a GREAT job with this novel and it is
Karen Jett
I read this book for the first time in the late 70's as a teenager. This time it's many years later and I am middle aged. How I wish that I could sit down and have a book club meeting with the teenage me!

Some parts of the book seem almost comical seen at this distance. For example, some of the conversations sound like a cliche. "Like wow!" It's hard to remember or to believe that people used to speak this way. (Just wait until we look back on the late 80's and early 90's and the valley girls!)

It's been a long time since I've read this, but the book has stuck with me.

It was written in the late-60s / early-70s and is set in the 60s. It's a story deeply wrapped up in the issues of American culture at that time - the Vietnam War and the changing views on drugs and sex. Through Mr. Fairbanks there are also threads back to the past and the generation that had come before.

Michener is well known I think for books that focus on a place. Hawaii being once such book of that type I recall. I've
Someone mentioned Michener to me today and I suddenly remembered I had read The Drifters in high school when we did a unit on the 60s. This book about the intertwining lives of six very different 20-somethings who meet in Torremolinos, Spain really spoke to my 16-year-old self and my desire to just sling a bag across my back and set off to see the world. Somehow I never did that, though. I seem to recall the young people meet up with an older guy in his 40s or 50s, so maybe it's never too late a ...more
Amanda Markham
Whilst the first half of the book starts off strongly, introducing each of the six young people to whom the narrator has some link, the second half of the book becomes more about place; especially history and description of place. I found it annoying that the last half of the book completely dropped the bundle when it came to characterisation. In the first six chapters, you have these long, beautifully drawn characters, each with their own inner turmoil which they 'drift' out of mainstream socie ...more
I really enjoyed this book by James A Michener, as I have enjoyed everything else he has written. He has a way of writing that just drags you into a story and keeps you hooked there. They are always very well researched, you get the feeling he is confident in all aspects of his story.
six young people from different parts of the world Britta, from dark brooding Norway, Joe from America, Yigal from Isreal, Cato from America , Monica from Englad and Gretchen from America, all their own individual r
This is a book about a group of young people who decide to exile themselves from their home countries and end up in Torremolinos, Spain. They start a journey of self-discovery that takes them to Portugal, Pamplona, Mozambique and Morocco. Their lives are observed by "Uncle" Gerorge, a businessman from Geneva, who ends up involved in each of their stories. Being from a different generation, he tries to understand their casual attitudes towards life, music, and drugs.
A great read, but allow a lo
I had a lot of problems getting through this book. I understand that it captured a group that existed at this time, the feeling and attitude... But it was 40 years ago, and it was hard to experience the story without a sense of quaintness, as well as the events of the time in between colouring, it. But it was incredibly written, explores lots of great, huge ideas: generation gaps, and how each generation faces the problems left by the last. Drugs, racism, freedom, patriotism... You name it, the ...more
Russ Jarvis

I'm just getting into Michener. I understand that this book is different from his other novels. I found the characterizations most enjoyable and how he used them to place competing worldviews in discussion seemed realistic and unforced. It's a long book, but the way he used the first half to introduce the characters and then put them together int he second part allowed me to put it down and pick it up again according to my leisure. I felt that I really cared for these figures and they made me th
Có hai lý do để cuốn sách này phải được đọc khi bạn còn trẻ: thứ nhất, nó nói hộ cho bạn nhiều điều; thứ hai, nó quá dài để có thể đọc khi bạn lớn tuổi hơn.
Very different than other Michener books. For those of us who grew up in the 60's and 70's, it's a must read!
Tran Thu
Chưa chết bây giờ được. Tôi còn phải đọc tập 2 :((
I first read this book over 40 years ago when i was 24 i guess and became a huge James Michener fan because of it and went on to read 10 of his other books…i just re read THE DRIFTERS and was surprised at how much i had forgotten in the book but i still say it is one of my all time favorite novels. I am now 64 and i believe the beatles wrote a song about that . Michener was born in 1907 ( same as my father was ) so he was not from the 60,s generation like me but he sure captures the feeling of t ...more
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This hefty book begins with promise. It's 1968 and the first 6 chapters each bring a main character through their journey to a common physical location. The next few chapters chronicle their interactions and give a rich history of young people and the socio-political issues of the late 60's. That said the last half of the book devolves into a dry political commentary where the authors voice becomes so loud no character can break through. Even when the original 6 experience a terrific loss there ...more
"On our letters we stamp 'Pray for Peace' to prove that we're a peace loving nation. But let one miserable son of a bitch do anything about peace, and they bust him over the head with clubs."

"The permanent temptation of life is to confuse dreams with reality. The permanent defeat of life comes when dreams are surrendered to reality."

"Burn pot not people."

"The blunders of youth are preferable to the successes of old age." (Disraeli)

"Soul is the ability to manipulate adversity so that it becomes t
Red Heaven
I picked this up from the library about twenty years ago, read 150 pages in a sitting, and then for no particular reason gave up and returned the book. Recently I decided I would try to finish it.

I read those same 150 pages very quickly - it's particularly the story of Britta that pulls me into the book. I liked the setting up of the six young characters. Unfortunately, once they all arrive in the same place and start interacting, the book begins to drag. I wasn't a fan of having the Fairbanks c
I've been a John Jakes fan for several decades now and people have often told me if I like Jakes I'd probably like Michener, also a historical fiction writer, but this is the first one of his I've read. I liked it quite a bit and while it might encourage me to read more Michener, I don't think I found it nearly as enjoyable as pretty much any Jakes book I've read. The Drifters follows six young people of the late 1960's from America, England, Norway, and Israel as their paths converge in Spain w ...more

Read this book ages ago and I was swept into the lives of the characters. Could not put this book down--had it in my desk drawer at work and would sneak reads. When I finished the book I cried. I did not want to leave the characters

Have re-read this book several times. This book will always be on my bookshelf. I will never lend this book for fear of not having it returned.
Jared Della Rocca
I've never finished a three-hour movie or a 700-page book with the thought, "I wish it hadn't ended." I know that's not the best way to start a review, but after finishing a book of this size, it's the thought I've had for the last 200+ pages. The first 300 pages of this book is magnificent, and if the book had been split into a series, I thought it would have carried more weight. I think the length of the book did it a disservice, because there was just as much weight in the characters' discuss ...more
Alain Dewitt
This is the second Michener I've read. I hated 'Space' because in it Michener decided to fictionalize the space program. I found it an un-necessary gimmick. It seems like this is Michener's modus operandi. He does the same thing in 'The Drifters'. He takes the late '60s and then fictionalizes a couple of locations (such as the former British colony in Africa, the improbably named Vwarda) and then populated them with uninteresting, self-important windbags for characters. It's like Michener painte ...more
One of the more profound and sobering books I've read in a long while.
Michener's books are education enough, I wish he were still alive and writing; "you know, like wow..."- you'll have to read the book to understand that bit.
Holly Adamson
Dec 02, 2008 Holly Adamson rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Holly by: Lindsay Herling
100% the best book that I've ever read! Even though it was written decades still hits home on so many issues and literally makes you want to drop everything and head out to Spain to wander for a bit :)
The stories of these children trying to make some sort of sense out of their world is both frightening and inspiring. It is worth reading again even though it is sadly dated in this technologically infused universe.
I read this when I was in Europe hitch-hiking around (I went as an exchange student but took off whenever possible - I don't think I could ever get away with that in this era.) It was in the 70's and extremely groovy!
One of my all time favorite books.

I found this book as a teenager at a used bookstore. It made me want to travel, but I never thought I would.

I've now been all over, including to Torremolinos, Spain!!
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James Albert Michener is best known for his sweeping multi-generation historical fiction sagas, usually focusing on and titled after a particular geographical region. His first novel, Tales of the South Pacific , which inspired the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific, won the 1948 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Toward the end of his life, he created the Journey Prize, awarded annually for th
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“The permanent temptation of life is to confuse dreams with reality. The permanent defeat of life comes when dreams are surrendered to reality.” 22 likes
“I can no longer take war or promotion or big income or a large house seriously. I reject empire and Vietnam and placing a man on the moon. I deny time payments and looking like the girl next door and church weddings and a great deal more. If you want to blame such rejection on grass, you can do so. I charge it to awakening.” 5 likes
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