Free Prime The CovenantAuthor James A. Michener – Blockdiagramwiring.co
tl dr Read the book, don t listen to the audioI listened to the Audiobook if you can even call it that.It is actually a 1993 tape recording with a monotonous narrator that cannot pronounce a single word related to the Dutch, Afrikaners, Xhosa, Zulu.Being about 60 hours of audio, it gets a bit tedious being told to reverse, or turn the tape around every 30 minutes And if the narrator wasn t bad enough on his own, you had this static sea shell type background throughout the whole book.I truly cannot fathom why there was no effort made to re record Michener s books.With that out of the way The book was so good, that I ended up ignoring all the narration complaints and spend a month listening to the history of South Africa.I ve never cared much for knowing my history very well.But was recommended the author by a friend, and figured that if i m going to engage in the history of any country, it might as well be my own.And I m not sorry at all.At the back of this book, I m actually quite angry that history doesn t get taught in this type of format at school level I probably don t know a single person that enjoyed history at school But being taught in a novel format with relatable characters, I couldn t stop listening and I can recall most of the history with relative accuracy of or less which years that happened.The book hit quite close to home Being an Afrikaner, raised in the Dutch Reformed church, born at the time this book was written It was in the time when things weren t going that well in South Africa, as the book accurately depicts And only now do I have a full picture of what lead up was to the different phases of South Africa s evolution.This book won t be for everyone You either need to be a big lover of history, or have a direct correlation to the history of South Africa Whether that is through the Dutch, the Afrikaner, the Coloureds, the Hottentots, the Huguenots, the English, the Xhosa, the Zulu or even the German and Indian settlers sent from London.The story is very much told from each culture s own perspective Giving a solid understanding of what the differences misunderstandings were and why Having the full parallel history through the centuries to see why certain events happened The main thread also makes the same families lives cross again and again over the centuries.The second half of the book does slow down the pace quite a bit And I suspect it might be due to the grim nature of the content Going into the Zulu war, then the English war, then apartheid.To summarize the major events eras I got out of this book Bushmen running into the blacks Merchants from Zimbabwe exploring Africa for Rhino horn and gold Blacks moving up in Africa to Zimbabwe whom were far advanced in the time Travel Trade between Java, the Spice Islands and the Asian countries Dutch travel between Amsterdam and Java having to stop in Cape Town Settling in Cape Town to have food drink for the Dutch travellers Dutch exploring moving into Africa and encounters with the locals The start of wine making in South Africa The Trek Boers and their beliefs Xhosa war Zulu war British colonisation and war Cecil Rhodes and mining Jan Smuts with and then against all the other Generals Piet Retief, de la Rey, Paul Kruger Apartheid Diamonds To the point of sending Mandela to Robben Island All of which highly centres around religious beliefsThere were certain fascinating facts view spoiler The German influence coming to South Africa as part of the Dutch colonisation as free burghers forming part of the Calvinist Reformed Church of the Netherlands.Like why there are Indians in Natal.To quote some history Indian slaves from the Dutch colonies had been introduced into the Cape area of South Africa by the Dutch settlers in 1654 By 1860, with slavery having been abolished in 1834, and after the annexation of Natal as a British colony in 1843, the British colonialists in Natal now kwaZulu Natal turned to India to resolve a labour shortage Men of the local Zulu warrior nation were refusing to adopt the servile position of labourers In that year, the SS Truro arrived in Durban harbour with over 300 Indians on board Over the next 50 years, 150,000 indentured Indian servants and labourers arrived, as well as numerous free passenger Indians , building the base for what would become the largest Indian community outside India By 1893, when the lawyer and social activist Mahatma Gandhi arrived in Durban, Indians outnumbered whites in Natal The civil rights struggle of Gandhi s Natal Indian Congress failed until the 1994 advent of democracy, Indians in South Africa were subject to most of the discriminatory laws that applied to all non white inhabitants of the country hide spoiler James Michener s epic book on South Africa It tells the story of that land from the early settlements by the Dutch, through the expansion of it by English immigrants and others, to the South Africa of the Apartheid age, shortly before it was eliminated.The tumultuous and violent history of South Africe is told with Michener s careful research and adherence to detail The people and their struggles and the values that drove them enrich the story and add the personal touch to the sweeping changes around them.It is a tragic story of slavery, struggles against elements, racism, war, and love There are many characters in this novel, as it spans hundreds of years.You will read about Cecil Rhodes, the rise of the Zulu Empire, the Boer wars and the concentration camps that the British erected during that war.It also provides a good look at the evil of Apartheid, how it was established, and how many whites in the country knew it could not last.As with many Michener books, you learn something as you enjoy the great story This was a fantastic read. James A Michener S Masterly Chronicle Of South Africa Is An Epic Tale Of Adventurers, Scoundrels, And Ministers, The Best And Worst Of Two Continents Who Carve An Empire Out Of A Vast Wilderness From The Java Born Van Doorn Family Tree Springs Two Great Branches One Nurtures Lush Vineyards, The Other Settles The Interior To Become The First Trekboers And Afrikaners The Nxumalos, Inhabitants Of A Peaceful Village Unchanged For Centuries, Unite Warrior Tribes Into The Powerful Zulu Nation And The Wealthy Saltwoods Are Missionaries And Settlers Who Join The Masses To Influence The Wars And Politics That Ravage A Nation Rivalries And Passions Spill Across The Land Of The Covenant, A Story Of Courage And Heroism, Love And Loyalty, And Cruelty And Betrayal, As Generations Fight To Forge A New World This is a difficult book to review As with all Michener books, it is well researched and written Anytime I recommend one of his books, I must verify that the intended reader loves history, loves reading, and is willing to hunker down and delve through slow stories to enjoy the incredible wealth of knowledge that can be gained from his stories The covenant is no different To read this story takes a level of patience and desire that most books, even most historical novels, do not require That being said, of all the Michener books I have read, I think this may be his finest, especially in terms of how he describes the mindset and motivations of the various groups Many of the characters are so unlikable or belligerent that you want to shake some 21st century sense into them, but that s easy to say from my couch in Miami This is certainly a study on how NOT to develop and run a diverse, fair society, but that s kind of the point It really is too bad that we don t get to see this story through to the end of apartheid however, if this had been written in 2014 there would undoubtably be future history that readers a hundred years from now would lament not being being included. A bible of a book both in terms of size and contents that retells the history of South Africa through the stories of both fictitous and historic characters A truly ambitious endeavour in true Michener style, which had a profound effect on me when I read it at the age of 16 and still does The book ends in the 1980s, and I am still amazed at Michener s insight into the shaping of post apartheid South Africa. I admit, I am a Michener fanatic I read this book when it first came out and so much of it just stuck with me over the years that I decided to reread it First of all, 1240 pages Wow, wow, wow Michener crams this book with outstanding usage of the history of the county and then blend his fictitious families to be part of those events Did a ton of fact checking as I went along and he was spot on with his history having the internet made it easy for me to do this He allows us to see Africa through the eyes of competing groups that live and settled there from the Hottentots to the Xhosa to the Dutch and English, and we get to understand some of the reasoning behind the Boer Dutch farmer War and eventual domination of the country By the end, he ably points out the mistakes of the Boers and their use of Apartheid to control and dominate a group of people and a country Obviously, the book was written before that institution was torn down, and I am certain that Michener would have loved to have been able to add a few chapters to help analyze how that happened and what has happened to South Africa since that time But, this is one fantastic effort and was done in his most productive years when he was writing Chesapeake, Centennial, Texas Well worth the time and effort to read this wonderful historical fiction novel He is the best of the genre without a doubt This is not a new book, but I m glad I ve found it as James Michener is a master storyteller In history classes we were taught drips and drabs of our history, so it was interesting to see how it all fits together This historical novel is obviously based on fact, but the author s own storyline is cleverly interwoven It gives one a comprehensive account of how South Africa came into being, the different role players involved as well as the dynamics of this multi cultural and multi faceted country A must for those who whish to understand this complex country. It was very interesting to read this book which ended in 1980 As of 2009 we can now look back at what happened to South Africa and it is wonderful to see that of the 2 scenario s that Michener thought most likely the relatively bloodless one emerged I especially enjoyed his section on South Africa under apartheid It is a reminder to me of how stupid, brutal and ineffective it was a system The whites now like to complain about Affirmative Action and BEE but looking at the system that we put the blacks under it is enough to make us ashamed That is not to say that we shouldn t strive to make South Africa a better place for all, we should just realise where our young democracy comes from and gasp in horror and what we did menatlly, physically to the majority of our population Not to say the least about our education and skills development of the black population What a disgrace One should read this book just to see what a frace Apartheid was..The book as a whole kind of rambled on through 1000 pages of the history of South Africa I obviously was interested in the subject matter, but on the whole the book is not that exciting It is kind of a slow meander with highlights of our history and I enjoyed it as such.. My favorite Michener The story behind South Africa And when I say behind, that is truly Michener s style He starts with the beginning of time, how the earth was formed, the first people to populate the area, and on to the present day An incredible amount of information, but entertaining to read as he masterfully follows several families whose lives cross again and again over centuries. I promised myself when I considered writing a review of this gigantic tome Woah there buddy, isn t it a little redundant to be calling a tome gigantic If it s a tome it is gigantic by its very definition, or are you saying that it s especially large, even for a tome Alright, so when I was considering writing a review of this tome, I made a promise to myself not to use the word epic Newsflash, genius, you are writing a review and you just used the word epic Mission failed, promise to self broken you suckAnyway, I did not want to use the word epic to describe this novel, but I realized that there isn t another word that would describe it adequatelyOh look, I have a thesaurus Check it out Inflated, grandiose, gargantuan, monumental, towering, gigantic, Brobdingnagian Sooo, this is a big book and if you re not interested in South African history, it might not be something you want to readDurrr, hey I m not interested in reading about South African history, I think I ll read this monstrous thank you, thesaurus Michener book that focuses entirely on South Africa IS ANYONE THAT STUPID Yes, as a matter of fact But do you think that anyone reading your review is that stupid Of course not, they re obviously individuals of highly evolved taste and intelligence I just thought that maybe they don t know what the book is about Do you honestly believe that someone interested in this book went to YOUR review first Like, oh hey, I m just going to read this random review by a dude I don t know rather than reading the BLURB THAT IS RIGHT BESIDE THE BLOODY BOOK.You may have a point You re dern right I have a point, you soft headed cheese eater.Cheese eater You don t eat cheese I do, but it s a rather weak insult WhateverAnyway, this book is a long read, but it s well worth the time invested In my opinion, this is Michener s best Have you read every Michener book No Then how can you say that What if his best book is Mexico It isn t Listen, you lumpy headed simpleton, can you guarantee beyond all doubt that one of the many Michener books that you haven t read isn t his best No, but Then your opinion isn t worth much, is it Fine I just thought this was a really good book and, having read a sizable selection of Michener s works, I have a hard time imagining a better one Oh, so we re to be held hostage, as review readers, by the limits of your poverty stricken imagination Fine This is an excellent book, that s all I m saying I think what the reviewer is trying to say, for any readers who have made it this far, is that you should probably read another review if you want any actual meaningful analysis of this bookShut up.