Mat's Reviews > Chesapeake

Chesapeake by James A. Michener
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's review
Feb 14, 12

Read in July, 2005

What is Michener's best book? Now that's a tough question. It's like asking 'what was Shakespeare's masterpiece?' or even 'what's your favourite Baskin & Robbins flavour ice-cream'? To me, based on the books I have read so far, it is a toss-up between Alaska, Hawaii and this marvellous page-turner, Chesapeake.
I'll admit I really had doubts that a story which was limited to the history and area surrounding Chesapeake Bay would hold me for the 700 + pages in which Michener likes to let his narrative flow.
But my fears were soon dispelled.
Within each Michener book, you soon learn, there are so many great mini-stories and tales of various peoples and their struggles and this is no exception. Herein, there are fascinating stories about local native American tribes who lived in the area (vaguely remember some great story about a guy and his coat of feathers....) as well as the white explorers who came to settle here later. This all goes to show that not only was Michener a great writer and storyteller but he must have been a fantastic researcher as well in order to uncover this much detail.
Personally, my favourite parts of the book were the stories about the African-American slaves (can't remember their names as I read this about 7 years ago) who ended up being freed by their master.
My mother had always raved about this book when I was growing up. Now I know why. Cannot recommend this book highly enough. Michener is the man.
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