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The Last Convertible

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  1,475 Ratings  ·  118 Reviews
Tells the story of five Harvard men, the women they loved, and the elegant car that came to symbolize their romantic youth. It is also the story of their coming-of-age in the dark days of WWII, and their unshakable loyalty to the lost dream of Camelot, of grace and style, in the decades that followed.
Paperback, 624 pages
Published May 1st 2002 by Harper Perennial (first published March 1978)
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Melody
Feb 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Gerald
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
Sue
Mar 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Mark Mortensen
Mar 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, wwii, fiction
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.
Rhonda
Dec 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
Lou
Sep 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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!
Louise
Jul 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Zuzana Schedová
Poslední kabriolet je kniha, o ktorej som nepočula, až kým som ju nedostala ako darček k narodeninám. Ide o klasický príbeh jednej generácie zasiahnutou druhou svetovou vojnou. Je to príbeh pred, počas a po vojne. Na skupine piatich kamarátov sledujeme ich bezstarostné osudy od začiatku štúdia na Harwarde a postupne tak, ako sa blíži vojna, je cítiť, že aj príbeh je stále ponurejší a chmúrnejší. A všetko je spojené jedným autom kabrioletom, ktorý postupne putuje medzi kamarátmi a na jeho stave v ...more
Robert Grant
Aug 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Carol
Dec 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Elizabeth
Jul 28, 2011 rated it liked it
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.
Lisa Gs
Apr 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Favorite book of all time
Baxter Trautman
Dec 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Veronika
Jun 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Growing up of one generation - pursuing their dreams, losing their hopes and at the end being, in one way or another, crushed by the reality. The life is not as glamorous as we all dreamt it. The realism of the book is relevant also nowadays when we are all raised being exceptional, with high expectations, but only some of our dreams might come true. The book shows us to live through the disappointments of life - and accept them. Very relevant still today.
Freckles
Tohle je skutečně dobrá knížka. Příběh jedné generace. Ačkoli s tím mám jen málo společného, přesto mě několik věcí opravdu zasáhlo... Doporučuju pokud máte rádi knihy z druhé světové války ("rádi"), ale nejen. Je to příběh ze života, o lásce, obětování, věrnosti a přátelství. Postavy nejsou černobílé a prostě se mi to hrozně hrozně moc líbilo. Jen jsem teď poněkud v depresi...
Josef Horký
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Úžasná knížka - hlavně její první dvě třetiny. Ale v závěru, místo aby gradovala, jí začíná docházet dech. Ne snad, že by témata a myšlenky Myrer nedohrál, ale až moc to celé natahuje a navrch se mnohdy točí v kruzích. Což je trochu na škodu.
Lara
Feb 23, 2011 rated it it was ok
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.
Karen
Jan 17, 2010 rated it it was ok
While parts of this book were transcendent - wonderfully written, evocative, heart-warming and heart-wrenching - the other parts dragged it down.
Eva Lavrikova
Jan 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Výborný príbeh s výbornými dobovými reáliami (2. svetová vojna, vojna vo Vietname, premeny americkej spoločnosti v týchto dobách)... ľudský a oslovujúci.
Pavla Christophová
One of the best books I have ever read.
It's a little bit naive in some parts but so true as a whole book.
Elise
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
"There are only moments. They like to tell us that time runs along in even, ticking measures, minute to day to month to decade, but that isn't true. It's like a groping journey in the fog, hiking up Bootspur Trail on Mount Washington in bad weather, nothing around you but the rock of the trail and the ghostly shadows of the firs-and all at once you reach the summit and it's blown clear and the sun is blazing down out of a vibrant, rain-washed sky and everything is new and full of clarity; and ti ...more
Sandra
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book chronicles the lives of five young men who enter Harvard together in 1940 with all the hopes and dreams of college undergraduates but who then find themselves pulled into the savagery and disillusionment of World War II. The story ends in 1969 after their 25th reunion in Cambridge. Myrer himself left Harvard in 1942 and joined the Marines where he participated in the Pacific theater of the war. As I read the book, I almost felt as if I were watching a movie. Myrer is wordy, but his des ...more
Catherine
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those timeless stories that is relevant whenever you read it. It's the kind of book you reread every few years because you want to think deeply and feel deeply about life and relationships.
The story is deftly crafted, the prose beautiful.
It reminded me of a Jane Smiley saga... so rich in the details of a time passed but still so pertinent to our current situation..
Kleio
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Neopakovatelné atmosféra doby, která už se nikdy nevrátí. Vůně benzínu a jablečného koláče included.
Cheryl
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love the Cape (Cape Cod) and loved this book. My ex told me to read it 25 years ago. I finally found it in the storage room where all of our discarded marital furniture had been sitting for 13 years. Although The furniture was all around me, I walked out with only The Last Convertible in my hand. I remembered the way my ex had commented on the book - I could tell he was moved by it and now I understand why. The scenes, descriptions, characters, prose are unforgettable. I think my ex took away ...more
Christine Mason
Feb 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
A hard book to find, but so worth it if you can track it down.
Marty
Mar 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Tereza Fuková
Jsem z toho nějaká rozpolcená. Vlastně ani nevím, jestli se mi to líbilo nebo ne. První polovina určitě, druhá už se mi víc táhla a měla jsem podobný problém jako u Čínské císařovny u Fabricia - styl dobrý ale obsah těžko stravitelný.
Dovedu si představit, proč ta kniha měla takový úspěch, je zajímavá, nabízí pohled do životů lidí jiné doby a to dost do hloubky. Ale to je pro mě zároveň z nějakého důvodu problematické. Jestli tím, jak odhrnuje ošklivou budoucnost a realitu života, nebo tím, jak
...more
Kathy
Apr 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Virginia
Apr 17, 2008 rated it liked it
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
...more
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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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