Customer Reviews for

America America

Average Rating 4
( 108 )
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5 Star

(38)

4 Star

(32)

3 Star

(24)

2 Star

(7)

1 Star

(7)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Excellent

Great writing. Great story.

posted by 903957 on July 29, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

So-So

If you grew up in the Kennedy era, one can't help but see the similarities to the final fall of Camelot and all of the characters involved. Specifically, Teddy Kennedy and the death of Mary Jo Kopechne. I don't know if the author intended to draw such a close parallel b...
If you grew up in the Kennedy era, one can't help but see the similarities to the final fall of Camelot and all of the characters involved. Specifically, Teddy Kennedy and the death of Mary Jo Kopechne. I don't know if the author intended to draw such a close parallel but I couldn't separate the two events in my mind, which left me feeling uncomfortable. As uncomfortable as I felt back in 1969 when Teddy got off with barely a slap on the wrist. I'm a democrat so it's not sour grapes but rather unfair and unjust punishment for the death of a young woman. In America America I didn't feel like I really knew much about any of the characters and why they did the things that they did by the final page. Especially, Christian, Clara and their mother who seemed to be bordering on the edge of insanity...but why? Putting that aside, I did enjoy the narrative style. I would give this author another try but this book was just so-so for me.

posted by Kate_Sullivan on April 6, 2009

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  • Posted July 29, 2011

    Excellent

    Great writing. Great story.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent -- A Really Great Read

    This book was simply devine. I hated for it to end. The characters are vivid and vital and you are engaged by them from the start. Yes, it has echos of the infamous Kennedy scandal -- but the book is more about Corey and his "comming of age" and the struggle to reconcile what your perceptions of those you "idolize" in your youth with what you come to understand of them as an adult. This is the first book of Ethan Canin's I have read, and it certainly won't be the last.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2013

    Amrica

    It tpuched my heart strings

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2012

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    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2012

    Just tah

    Gkdu

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2012

    G

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    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2012

    Wonderful

    I heard its a GREAT book!!!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2012

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    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2012

    Iwonder

    I wonder.........................

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2012

    HO HO HO

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    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2012

    this book sounds like about the history of america

    I want this book i don't care about those stupid teenagers

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Politics and Media, hand in hand

    I found this browsing the clearance section of a bookstore (a shame so many literary novels end up there) and couldn't resist. Canin presents a sweeping overview of American politics and media's large hand in the midst. Although he focuses on one party, he also shows not only the admirable goals of that party, but also its downfalls. And there are some doozies in there that let people individually and collectively down hard.

    Cory gets drawn from the working class into the wealthy political shakers, and his story is a lovely comparison/contrast of each. His ongoing loyalty is understandable and yet, we see the fault in it, as well.

    As I finished the book, I was sorry it was finished, and this was largely because it was a soft ending for such a hearty story. But I suppose when it all comes down to it, all of that heartiness (swashbuckling, fighting, strong opinion flinging) does dwindle down into one soft but large thing: the individual American family.

    This one is very highly recommended, especially to the young who often have such strong and one-sided opinions as to how it "should" be. Be aware not all is as it appears.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Fantastic!

    I absolutely loved this novel about politics, sex, and scandal set in the 1970's. Canin is a great writer and I will definitely look for more of his novels in the future.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2010

    Great political read with a human story twist

    I really enjoyed this novel. I will admit that it took me about a 1/4 of the book to get into it and understand what it was really about. It is written with intricate detail, and sometimes you have to really think about what you are reading and what part you have read that it relates to. Politically strong open discussion regarding mid 20th century politics, the art of lying, and how relationships can be forged or changed. It is an interesting read, and once I was in the book, I could not put it down without constantly thinking about what might happen next.

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  • Posted December 12, 2009

    Enjoyable reading

    It has kept my interest--that's my barometer for how well a book is written.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    One of the best books I've ever read.

    I bought America America a year ago and just got around to reading it. While there were moments where I felt the book dragged on a bit Ethan Canin always provided a hook back in, I never wanted to put it down. He kept me guessing, engaged, and always wanting more. I thought this book was one of those unique books where, as a reader, I felt that every word was perfect word choice. He creates a beautiful picture of American life from all different angles filled with deep, interesting, complex characters. Absolutely recommended for anyone who loves fantastic writing, politics, history or the American Dream

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2009

    Did we read the same book?

    Before buying a book, I often read the reviews and start at the lowest ratings and...end there. If I read "left the reader guessing" or "couldn't get into it" or "boring", that's the book for me. I know immediately this is a find for a reader with an imagination and one willing to delve into a story written by someone highly respected in the literary field. I was thankful the author took me to Corey's past, present and back again and enjoyed every minute of it. Books are not to be inhaled, they're to be savored.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 5, 2009

    A flavor of Americana

    This story, while beautifully written, is difficult to classify. Is it a historical fiction piece? Is it a murder mystery? A coming-of-age story? A political diatribe? A rags-to-riches yarn? Actually, a title as broad as America, America is fitting because it takes on all of these things at once. The shocking part is that it actually works. It doesn't feel like a reach. In fact, it works quite well by employing something rarely used anymore - the art of subtlety.

    The characters - beginning with the first-person protagonist, Corey Sifter - are exceptionally well done. You really do feel that you know them so well - feeling what they feel and sensing what they sense. It is a remarkable art of character development that Canin successfully uses to pull the reader in. In addition to that, he employs a master's touch of laying out the atmosphere of Western New York - from its culture to the look of the trees and the heaviness of the air. The book is as much art as it is story. As someone who grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania, I can tell you that Canin's portrayal of that part of the country is spot on. While some reviewers had a problem with Canin jumping back and forth in time throughout the story, I think he did a great job of leading the reader through it without needing to resort to labeling each change with a date. In fact, the layered structure makes the story more powerful and interesting than if it had been laid out chronologically.

    Canin also does a wonderful job weaving the fictional Senator Henry Bonwiller into the actual Presidential campaign of 1972. He was able to insert his candidate in among the real-life history without tearing it all apart - an admirable accomplishment in itself. It felt organic rather than shoehorned. Anyone interested in writing historical fiction should pay particular attention to how this story does it so well. However, nobody reading this book is going to have any trouble figuring out which side of the political aisle Ethan Canin falls on. I'm an independent thinker and I like it when writers provoke me to reassess my own beliefs, but it is certainly not lost on me that the book was released in the middle of a Presidential election season. I don't mind authors inserting issues they find important into their fiction, but frankly, Canin gets a bit carried away and beats the reader over the head with it, especially near the end. It is the one flaw of the book that it feels like a bit of a rant and sticks out from everything else. I don't mind the message, but a bit of a softer touch might have blended better with the rest of the story.

    While there is little real action or dramatic tension, I never felt like the story dragged. That says something for the writing, because that is no easy feat. The real story is the assent of Corey Sifter and how he grows to understand all of the people involved in his life, although sometimes painfully late. America, America does a beautiful job of showing just how the coming-of-age of a young man might look within the womb of a struggle for national power. His ultimate lesson is that he has to learn how to learn - and it is a neverending struggle. This is certainly a book worth reading, if for no other reason than to enjoy the rich characters and lush scenery.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2009

    A Great Novel of America

    What a complex novel and a profound, moving portrait, both intimate and grand, of a place and a people. It is the story of Corey Sifter, a working class boy, who gets drawn into the maw of a powerful political family, the Metareys, in upstate New York in the early 1970's. Specifically, Corey comes under the influence of the family patriarch, Liam Metarey, a complex and ambitious man, publicly and privately generous but ultimately loyal to a personal cause that by novel's end will bring great harm to many around him. It is reminiscent of the Kennedy story but also a much larger account of the decline of liberalism; and at the same time it is a deeply moving personal story, one of loyalty and love and the kind of American values--modesty, work, charity--that have in the last three decades been usurped by jingoism. I must say I loved it. In a life of reading novels (I am almost 60), I have read few to equal this one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Wonderful! Simply Amazing!

    I loved this book. The writing style was different from most book, but I found that I liked it. I could not stop reading it. I liked how we got to the climax one point at a time.

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