by James Michener

Hardcover, 1989



Fiction. Literature. Thriller. Historical Fiction. HTML: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.   Praise for Caribbean   ‚??Michener is a master.‚?Ě‚??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.‚?Ě‚??The Plain Dealer   ‚??Remarkable and praiseworthy . . . utterly engaging.‚?Ě‚??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 storytelli… (more)


½ (219 ratings; 3.6)

User reviews

LibraryThing member Darla
It's a horror story of greed, short-sightedness, and religious, national, & racial hatred--not even intolerance--outright hatred. I must say, he did a good job of showing how the various leaders could be both brilliant in some ways while they're downright evil in others. And he did a good job
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showing the dark side of all the sides. And I learned a lot. It was just pretty painful to read.
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LibraryThing member p4style
Loved Michener so much that I bought every book written by him and in stock at a used bookstore. Everything he wrote makes you experience the setting as if you, too, traveled there and got to know the country.
LibraryThing member TimmyP
Very good book. I read this while living in the Caribbean. Even if I hadn't known the history of the region, it is a great novel. The book is made of chapters, each corresponding to a different ages. It starts with times before European colonizers and works its way up to present day. Each chapter
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has great characters and introduces you to a different culture that influenced the Caribbean (Native-Americans, Spanish, French, English, Danish, American...). Each chapter is so interesting that they could all be turned into their own full-length book. A long book but well worth the time investment.
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LibraryThing member jpsnow
This wasn't as captivating as my favorites by him, but it does as well at conveying the essence of the region and its roots in mercantile-era history. I especially enjoyed the tragic story in his chapter about Guadeloupe.
LibraryThing member alisonb60
A wonderfully written story. I almost gave up at the beginning, it was so violent but I am always glad that I persevere with Michener he never disappoints.
LibraryThing member LauGal
This was my first and last Michener book. It took me 3 months to get thru this book. The only thing I remembered as soon as I closed the book and what I remember to this day is the fact that pirates have gold earrings to pay for their funeral.
I am not a Michener fan. It is me. I would recommend
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this book to anyone willing to give it a go.
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LibraryThing member maryreinert
Another wonderful Michener novel which spans time from the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean to the 1980's. I read this over a span of time as the chapters do not seem as tightly bound as some of the other novels. Each chapter is set in a different island. There are big names such as Columbus,
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but most of the characters are those that experienced the beauty and horrors of the islands. African slaves were first brought to the islands by the British in approximately the 1500's as sugar became a major product. The sugar trade and the sugar fields were places of horror as slaves were starved, whipped, and replaced by new shiploads of peoples brought from Africa.

Much of the book involves the struggle between the Spanish who first discovered the islands, the British who sent many of their lesser nobility to the islands to rule, and the French. There are stories of sea battles, privacy, diplomatic encounters, and personal love stories. Race plays a major role in almost all of the chapters. The whites honestly believed the black race to be inferior, felt no pain, and were treated as such. As more and more children were born of mixed race, there developed another class of biracial people. At all times, the white race was superior, the mixed races depended on the lightness of their skin, and the blacks were at the bottom and were treated as such. This is a honest look at race relations in the islands but one that had a definite affect on the US.

One of the later chapters involves an East Indian man who showed exceptional talent and was sent to the states to study. He can stay only as long as he is a student but not wanting to return, he falls into a scam of marriage to a woman in order to stay. Very interesting look at a situation known to happen.

Loved almost every chapter of this book. Michener has such a way of taking the bones of history and adding characters who explain the history much better than "just the facts" as the facts are always complicated.
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LibraryThing member santhony
Not as entertaining as Alaska, Texas, Centennial or Space, but a pretty good historical novel nonetheless.
LibraryThing member JohnDiehl
This novel by James Michener (one of our great authors) was a bit of a let down for me. It was an interesting and a informative historical story, but the story just seemed to drag on.
LibraryThing member mumoftheanimals
I used to live in Grenada, West Indies. I had mixed feelings about the book. It was great to have the panorama view of the West Indies complex history. But his coverage of the small islands was to create a fictional island bundled up with aspects of all of them. As the book went up to the 1990s,
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the omission of America’s invasion of Grenada was negligent. Nor did he look at the impact of UK’s abolition of slavery trade in 1807 and slavery itself in the British colonies in 1833 and this is something that must be of interest to historians.
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Random House

Original publication date



0394565614 / 9780394565613
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