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Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Covenant by James Michener

Michener's take on South Africa

James Michener (1907-1997)


Michener's true epics are always worth the time to read. The Covenant is no exception. Michener's take on South Africa and its history is an honest attempt to give some perspective on one of the more complex histories that this history teacher has encountered.


The book starts out strong (my edition was the two-volume hardback). The first volume was vintage Michener, but the second one dragged. Perhaps it was because the subject matter became more and more depressing. With the final 200 pages or so being about Apartheid, it's hard to find something to cheer about.

In a way, Michener's book seems incomplete - he hints that Apartheid could no longer stand - he gives a prediction that it would end by about the year 2000. Turns out, he was just about right, but the book feels like it does not have a proper ending.

If you are pondering a Michener book and have not read them all (personally, I only have one more of his major books to go) than I recommend skipping this one and coming back to it later.

I rate this book 4 stars out of 5.

Reviewed on June 1, 2008.

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