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Caribbean
Cover of Caribbean
Caribbean
A Novel
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In this acclaimed classic novel, James A. Michener sweeps readers off to the Caribbean, bringing to life the eternal allure and tumultuous history of this glittering string of islands. From the 1310 conquest of the Arawaks by cannibals to the decline of the Mayan empire, from Columbus’s arrival to buccaneer Henry Morgan’s notorious reign, from the bloody slave revolt on Haiti to the rise of Cuba’s Fidel Castro, Caribbean packs seven hundred dramatic years into a tale teeming with revolution and romance, authentic characters and thunderous destinies. Through absorbing, magnificent prose, Michener captures the essence of the islands in all of their awe-inspiring scope and wonder.
BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from James A. Michener's Hawaii.
 
Praise for Caribbean
 
“Michener is a master.”Boston Herald
 
“A grand epic . . . [James A. Michener] sympathizes with the struggles of the region’s most oppressed, and succeeds in presenting the Caribbean in its rich diversity.”The Plain Dealer
 
“Remarkable and praiseworthy . . . utterly engaging.”The Washington Post Book World
 
“Even American tourists familiar with some of the serene islands will find themselves enlightened. . . . In Caribbean, there appears to be a strong aura of truth behind the storytelling.”The New York Times
In this acclaimed classic novel, James A. Michener sweeps readers off to the Caribbean, bringing to life the eternal allure and tumultuous history of this glittering string of islands. From the 1310 conquest of the Arawaks by cannibals to the decline of the Mayan empire, from Columbus’s arrival to buccaneer Henry Morgan’s notorious reign, from the bloody slave revolt on Haiti to the rise of Cuba’s Fidel Castro, Caribbean packs seven hundred dramatic years into a tale teeming with revolution and romance, authentic characters and thunderous destinies. Through absorbing, magnificent prose, Michener captures the essence of the islands in all of their awe-inspiring scope and wonder.
BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from James A. Michener's Hawaii.
 
Praise for Caribbean
 
“Michener is a master.”Boston Herald
 
“A grand epic . . . [James A. Michener] sympathizes with the struggles of the region’s most oppressed, and succeeds in presenting the Caribbean in its rich diversity.”The Plain Dealer
 
“Remarkable and praiseworthy . . . utterly engaging.”The Washington Post Book World
 
“Even American tourists familiar with some of the serene islands will find themselves enlightened. . . . In Caribbean, there appears to be a strong aura of truth behind the storytelling.”The New York Times
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Excerpts-
  • From the book THE CHIEF CHARACTER IN THIS NARRATIVE IS THE CARIBBEAN Sea, one of the world’s most alluring bodies of water, a rare gem among the oceans, defined by the islands that form a chain of lovely jewels to the north and east. Although bounded on the south and west by continental land masses, it is the islands that give the Caribbean its unique charm. On the north lies the large and important trio: Puerto Rico, Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic) and great Cuba. On the east are those heavenly small islands that so artistically dot the blue waves: Antigua, Guadeloupe, Martinique, All Saints, Trinidad and remote Barbados among them. The southern shore is formed by the South American countries of Venezuela and Colombia and the Central American nation of Panamá. The western shore is often overlooked, but it contains both the exciting republics of Central America—Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras—and the wonderful, mysterious peninsula of Yucatán where the ancient Maya flourished.
     
    The Caribbean, nearly nineteen hundred miles wide from Barbados to Yucatán, does not include either the Bahama Islands or Florida, but does contain near its center an island which at intervals assumed an importance greater than most of the others, Jamaica with its turbulent history.
     
    In the centuries following its discovery by Columbus in 1492, the Caribbean was dominated by European nations fascinated by its wealth, its inviting charm and its strategic importance in naval warfare. Spain, Holland, England, France and, at brief intervals, Denmark and Sweden all became embroiled in Caribbean affairs, until it seemed that the area’s destiny was determined not by actions in the Caribbean but by what transpired in Europe. Conversely, and this became a crucial factor in world history, European destinies were frequently determined by great sea battles in the Caribbean, especially those fought among the fleets of Spain, Holland, England and France.
     
    But one must always keep in mind the salient fact about this sea and its islands: the dominant settlers of the area would become the black slaves who arrived in such droves from Africa that in time they outnumbered and eventually outpowered all other groups combined. Many islands would ultimately become black republics with blacks holding all major offices like governor general, prime minister and chief of police.
     
    In the nineteenth century a heavy influx of Hindus and Muslims from India introduced unique influences, making certain islands and regions even more colorful, while in recent decades businessmen predominantly from Canada and the United States have streamed down to invest their intelligence and money in efforts to make the islands tourist havens and international banking centers.
     
    The Caribbean is often referred to erroneously as the Mediterranean of America. In a strictly geographical sense the comparison is apt: both seas are landbound, they are almost identical in size (Mediterranean, 969,100 square miles; Caribbean, 971,400). Both have been important historically, but there the similarities between the two great seas end. The lands bordering the Mediterranean gave rise to many outstanding civilizations and the three great religions, while the only great indigenous civilization that operated in the Caribbean area was the Maya in Yucatán, and even it was dying out before the explorers arrived from Europe.
     
    But what the Caribbean did provide, and generously, was a sea of heavenly beauty, a cluster of unmatched islands and a varied series of national occupiers; it certainly has never lacked for either variety or...
About the Author-
  • James A. Michener was one of the world’s most popular writers, the author of more than forty books of fiction and nonfiction, including the Pulitzer Prize–winning Tales of the South Pacific, the bestselling novels The Source, Hawaii, Alaska, Chesapeake, Centennial, Texas, Caribbean, and Caravans, and the memoir The World Is My Home. Michener served on the advisory council to NASA and the International Broadcast Board, which oversees the Voice of America. Among dozens of awards and honors, he received America’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 1977, and an award from the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities in 1983 for his commitment to art in America. Michener died in 1997 at the age of ninety.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 1, 1989
    Aimed straight for the bestseller lists, Michener's latest, patented blend of fiction and history ( Journey; Alaska; etc.) vividly captures the rhythms of the Caribbean islands from the days when the peace-loving Arawak Indians were overpowered by cannibalistic Caribs, to a ship's tour of today's still lush, but troubled, paradise. Sir Francis Drake, pirate Henry Morgan, Horatio Nelson, Haitian General Toussaint L'Ouverture, Fidel Castro march across the pages, and while the pace is sometimes achingly slow, the dialogue stilted and the characterization skimpy, Michener laces the whole with fiery Caribbean drama: maritime scuffles between England and Spain; swashbuckling buccaneers; bloody slave revolts that birthed a new, black nation; social color wars springing from the mix of races; the rise of Rastafarianism; and shock waves sent by the Cuban revolution. By carrying early characters forward through the generations, the author advances a narrative that peaks in a grand, romantic finale. BOMC main selection.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    December 25, 1990
    The Caribbean islands, which have seen pirates, bloody slave revolts and the Cuban revolution, are chronicled in this blend of fiction and history. ``While the pace is sometimes achingly slow, the dialogue stilted and the characterization skimpy, Michener laces the whole with fiery Caribbean drama,'' PW remarked.

  • The New York Times

    "Michener is a master."--Boston Herald "A grand epic . . . [James A. Michener] sympathizes with the struggles of the region's most oppressed, and succeeds in presenting the Caribbean in its rich diversity."--The Plain Dealer "Remarkable and praiseworthy . . . utterly engaging."--The Washington Post Book World "Even American tourists familiar with some of the serene islands will find themselves enlightened. . . . In Caribbean, there appears to be a strong aura of truth behind the storytelling."

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