The high points in the story of Alaska since the American acquisition are brought vividly to life through more than 100 characters, real and fictional.
©2013 James A. Michener (P)2015 Random House Audio
"Few will escape the allure of the land and people [Michener] describes.... Alaska takes the reader on a journey through one of the bleakest, richest, most foreboding, and highly inviting territories in our Republic, if not the world.... The characters that Michener creates are bigger than life." (Los Angeles Times Book Review)
"Always the master of exhaustive historical research, Michener tracks the settling of Alaska [in] vividly detailed scenes and well-developed characters." (Boston Herald)
"Michener is still, sentence for sentence, writing's fastest attention grabber." (The New York Times)
My taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.
THERE'S MUCH TO BE SAID FOR A LONG BOOK
This is one of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors. When I first joined audible almost five years ago, the first thing I did was look up my favorite authors. I was totally bummed to find out there were no Michener Novels. Also confusing, since Michener's novels were some of the first to ever be recorded. I listened to this book and several others on cassette tape. I wrote to audible several times to ask them to get his recordings. I am now one happy camper. It will take years, but I hope one day to listen to all his books.
THIS AIN'T AMERICA, THIS IS ALASKA
This should be listed as Historical Fiction, not Fiction/Contemporary. No one writes history like Michener. Each chapter is really a book. If you find the size too much, just listen to a chapter and come back later for another chapter, although I am betting you will not be able to put it down. Besides history, James likes to throw in lots of science, but don't worry, he captures all the wonderment of science and you will learn with pleasure.
THE GREAT LAND
Michener starts at the beginning. He starts with plate tectonics and explains cool things like Alaska was once the true North Pole and it was once on the equator. He talks about the animals. For instance camels started in North America. Saber Tooth Tigers were nine times bigger then tigers of today. There were once Lions in Alaska. A Mastodon becomes one of his main characters in chapter two and we follow her and her herd through there daily lives. In chapter three we see how Alaska was settled by the Asians. Later chapters talk about the Russians and how they settled Alaska. All of this is done through storytelling. Much of it is done through characters and you will feel what it was like to live back then. If you like Jean Auel, you will love this. There are some great stories about the Gold Rush. The book continues up to the 1980's. The last stories feature a teacher who goes to teach at Desolation Point. There is mountain climbing, dog sledding, WWII invasion of the islands, etc.
I HOPE THE MINISTER THAT MARRIED YOU TIED A TIGHT KNOT.
I love Larry McKeever for these books. I would not want him to do a fast paced Zombie book or some high adventure, but he is perfect for Michener. I will have to admit I could be prejudice. You know how firsts are, perhaps your first girlfriend was a red head or had bucked teeth or both and now you have a special place in your heart for red headed bucked teeth women. McKeever was one of the first narrators with Guidal, and I listened to several Michener and Asimov books he read, while traveling down the lonely highway, back in the cassette days. Some might think he is too slow, but I think he is just right.
As an Alaskan I love this story. The narrator is a bit slow, and not a dramatic reader, but for the material lends itself well for his style which sounds more like a lecture from a history prof. It works well, although I must admit I had to set the speed to 1.25 (sacrilege to some I know, but it is kinda slow otherwise). As the grandson of pioneers up here in Alaska, my kids are 4th generation born on the grands homestead, I can say I identify with so many aspects of this story it is hard to know where to start.
Hard to say. Probably Missy, she reminds me of many sourdough ladies I know in real life. But there are so many who i could almost identify as people I've known. The Flatches are like many families I've known in the interior backwoods outside of Fairbanks. The Vims are much like many outsiders that see Alaska as only profits lining their pockets.
The Nome gold discoveries. Always wish I'd been around back then. Also the interractions between Big Ears and the Vims family
It was obviously a remaster of the original cassette or cd version, and there were plenty of remnants of that original, original intros a la "Disk-4", repeated lines from original when the new disk was inserted, etc. Also there were a good amount of seriously mispronounced words, both Alaskan words and several location names that were actual American names. Otherwise, I felt like I was immersed in my own culture in a deep learning sort of way. Loved it.
Narration is absolutely fine!
I greatly enjoyed the book cover to cover.
Overall, Performance and Story. All 5 stars.
The 50 plus hours went by too quickly.
This book was really interesting and I have never read anything like it. Stories range from the beginning of time until more current time period. I feel like I have learned a lot. But sometimes I'm not sure which people are real and which ones are just made up. There were names and stories from history that I recognized and others that were so convincingly described that it makes you want to believe it's all historical.
Some have commented they didn't care for the narration. After reading that, I hesitated getting this book. I'm glad I ended up getting it anyway. While he isn't my very favorite narrator, I thought he did a pretty darn good job. Once you get into the story, you may find, as I did, that you are so engrossed it seems you are paying less attention to the reading, and more putting yourself into the book, which is how I believe all good books should be anyway.
For the amount of quality listening time you will get and the content of the book, do yourself a favor and just get the book. You can always return it if you don't like it. My guess is, though, that you'll be glad you made the purchase. Enjoy!
And Buffalo George
This is an epic novel. It contains many wonderful short stories and spans thousands of years from the prehistoric times of the land bridge right up to the 1990s. As always, there are many characters and scenarios; all enjoyable. As an audible listen, it's nearly 60 hours long and required over a week of listening. Michener made several historic political points, among them military, economic and political. All brought home through the book's characters. "Alaska" was made real for me this time because I just finished a tour there and the landscape was familiar from Dawson to Juneau.
The book is good, enjoyable. I've learned several things about Alaska that I wasn't aware I should know. How a Coast Guard cutter and a college got their names and some towns too. Love it.
The narrator speaks very slowly, fixed that by speeding it up. But his pronouncing place names differently than WE pronounce them -I'm a Tlingit descendant, lifelong Alaskan makes me cringe. Yoon-Alaska instead of Un-Alaska. Ugh.
Held me spellbound for 50 hours....I laughed, pI cried....I learned...so sad it's over. Michener rocks. One of the best tales I have ever
. just jump in....get it...you will not be disappointed. .. and the reader...he was fine....did not detract in the least....put his heart into it....took me on the journey... worth a credit? My God, worth more than that.
Just buy it, relax and enjoy one of the best storytellers, work his magic. . across the depth of the human soul....
The narrator is very bland and the story is worth a read but not as dramatic as other books by this author
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