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American Dreams [NOOK Book]

Overview

From America's master storyteller and writer of historical fiction comes the epicstory of the Crown family--first introduced in the New York Times bestsellerHomeland. As the second generation comes of age, the Crowns strive to find theirplace in a turbulent America which stands at the dawn of a new century. From thespeedways of Detroit to the unbridled glamour of a young Hollywood, to the daringheights of early aviation--theirs is a story of passion and adventure, glory, andambition, with all the wonder, promise,...
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American Dreams

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Overview

From America's master storyteller and writer of historical fiction comes the epicstory of the Crown family--first introduced in the New York Times bestsellerHomeland. As the second generation comes of age, the Crowns strive to find theirplace in a turbulent America which stands at the dawn of a new century. From thespeedways of Detroit to the unbridled glamour of a young Hollywood, to the daringheights of early aviation--theirs is a story of passion and adventure, glory, andambition, with all the wonder, promise, and splendor of...American Dreams.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Just in time for the nation's birthday comes a new book from John Jakes! Praised as America's preeminent writer of historical fiction and "a master of the ancient art of storytelling" (The New York Times Book Review), Jakes continues to deliver one literary home run after another. Who else can make history come so alive? The Kent Family Chronicles, the North and South trilogy, and the New York Times bestseller Homeland are chock-full of fascinating historical detail and colorful personalities. Homeland, a towering tale of a German-American immigrant dynasty, made it clear that Jakes had begun one of his most ambitious and exceptional epics to date. Almost immediately, enthusiastic fans began writing Jakes fan letters asking about the next installment in the Crown Family Chronicles.

American Dreams, a sweeping saga of passion, adventure, glory, ambition, and hope, is the much-anticipated follow-up. The Crown family now stands at the threshold of a new millennium, a remarkable age of promise and opportunity. Everything seems possible, yet the distant rumble of war foreshadows turbulence and tragedy. Certainly it is an exciting time to be alive. Jakes was drawn to this period, he says, because, "in little more than ten years, America, and the world, went from idyllic golden summers of peace to the bleak and bloody winter of war — war so apocalyptic, so destructive, it could hardly be imagined by most of those living at the time."

Spanning 1906 to 1917, American Dreams charts the triumphs and tragedies of three extraordinarydreamerswho all struggle to make their mark in one of America's burgeoning industries. We meet 26-year-old Fritzi Crown, daughter of successful beer brewer Joe Crown, and a woman of fierce determination and formidable ambition. Fritzi yearns for the excitement of life on the stage, but pursuing an acting career will mean defying her wealthy father and social convention. Through this young starlet's eyes, on her road from starvation to stardom, Jakes incorporates fascinating detail about the early days of the film industry. Readers meet Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Fatty Arbuckle, D. W. Griffith, and Erich von Stroheim, among other real-life notables.

Meanwhile, Fritzi's brother, Carl Crown, is searching for a higher purpose in his life after being thrown out of Princeton. His secret dream of flying takes him from Henry Ford's Detroit to the war-torn European skies as a daring aviator. His cousin Paul also finds his fortunes drastically altered by the impending war. An idealistic filmmaker and acclaimed author, Paul sacrifices his own career in the name of truth by screening footage of the atrocities of the German army. Returning to Europe intent on obtaining more war footage, Paul experiences a devastating personal loss in the trenches that is a precursor to the violence to come.

With its abundance of period history, historical fact, and highly entertaining prose, American Dreams is sure to please Jakes fans and newcomers alike.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In the competent second volume (after Homeland) of his Crown family chronicles, Jakes portrays America during the turbulent period from 1906 to 1917. Once again, the story centers on the family of German-American patriarch and Chicago beer baron Joe Crown, whose headstrong daughter Fritzi defies her father to pursue a dreadfully unsuccessful New York stage career. In desperation, she surrenders to the lure of performing in moving pictures, which takes her to "empty, rural, and uncivilized" Hollywood, where she falls in love and achieves a measure of fame as a comic actress. Meanwhile, her brother Carl gets tossed out of Princeton, goes to work for eccentric car manufacturer Henry Ford, becomes a race-car driver with Barney Oldfield, "Speed King of the World," and flies as an ace pilot during WWI. Their cousin Paul is a professional news cameraman driven to record the horrors of war. He does not chase an American dream so much as become a chronicler of the world's nightmares. Once again, Jakes's strength is not in his splashy characters or cluttered plot, but in his knack for splicing in historical celebrities (ranging from Kaiser Wilhelm II to Mack Sennett) and detailsThomas Edison's pursuit of patent royalties on camera parts forced some studios to film in secret and inspired their move to California. Veteran saga-writer Jakes knows his reader's expectations and fulfills them with a solid, if predictable roman-fleuve.
Library Journal
Best-selling historical novelist Jakes continues the story of the Crown family in early-20th-century Chicago.
Library Journal
Best-selling historical novelist Jakes continues the story of the Crown family in early-20th-century Chicago.
Kirkus Reviews
This sequel to prolific historical novelist Jakes's Homeland (1994, not reviewed) leads faithful readers of his Revolutionary and Civil War sagas into the 20th century and continues his roman-fleuve of the Crown Dynasty of Chicago. These dreamers of new American empires include 26-year-old Fritzi Crown, who abandons her family and enters the new-flowering, amazingly fantasy-filled film industry, first as an actress in Westerns filmed in New Jersey, then as a Hollywood star buddying around with Charlie Chaplin, Erich von Stroheim, Mary Pickford, and other famed folk; her brother Carl, who longs to be an aviator, puts his genius for machines to work for Henry Ford in Detroit, then goes on the racing circuit with Barney Oldfield before becoming a pilot for a flying circus; and author/ filmmaker cousin Paul, whose newsreels documenting German atrocities at the Front get him into hot water with the British censors, but lead to Fritzi's call for US intervention. Realistic detail and period color galore keep this swift-moving story grounded in the sunset of a largely agrarian America as the automobile and WWI arrive to shake the republic out of its golden idyll. Literary Guild featured alternate.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101209189
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 7/1/1999
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 560
  • Sales rank: 121,779
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

John Jakes is the bestselling author of Charleston, the Kent Family Chronicles, the North and South trilogy, On Secret Service, California Gold, Homeland, and American Dreams. Descended from a soldier of the Virginia Continental Line who fought in the American Revolution, Jakes is one of today’s most distinguished authors of historical fiction.
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Table of Contents

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Interviews & Essays

Before the live bn.com chat, John Jakes agreed to answer some of our questions.

Q:  In your opinion, what has been the most exciting time period to live in?

A:  There are any number of historical eras I'd love to visit if I had a time machine: Shakespeare's London (taking in a performance at the Globe), Europe in the age of Napoleon, England in the bawdy Restoration period (but be careful to get your shots first and go armed in the streets after dark). Realistically, though, I feel that the most exciting period will be the 50 or 100 years just ahead, when my 11 grandchildren will find their careers, and live out their lives, in an unpredictable and ever-changing century I wish I could see.

Q:  Why does writing historical fiction appeal to you?

A:  The past, like the present, is packed with dramatic events and colorful personalities, but in writing about the past I have the benefit of decades of scholarship to put the historical record in better perspective than we have for present events in this era of government secrecy, hush-hush diplomatic negotiations, et cetera. There is also a kind of romantic glow to the past as it recedes from us -- certainly not entirely realistic, or justified, if you look at the grim and grimy record of most eras. But this aura is very real for millions nonetheless. Some of this romantic feeling enlivens most good historical fiction, including, I hope, mine.

Q:  What are your favorite five books? Your favorite historical movie?

A: 

  1. Great Expectations. Charles Dickens is my No. 1 literary idol, and this is one of his masterpieces (along with Bleak House). It's also one of his most accessible novels. I've just completed the book and lyrics for a musical theater version of the novel (score by composer Mel Marvin), which will have its world premiere at our new $10 million Self Family Arts Center on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, in April 1999. Obviously a labor of love!
  2. The Count of Monte Cristo. Of all the historical novels I read as a youngster, this is the one that hooked me on the form.
  3. Anthony Adverse. Hervey Allen's towering 1933 work may be the best historical novel of this century -- despite its dated and wrongful attitudes toward slavery.
  4. Lonesome Dove. One of the great novels of this century, in my estimation, and possibly the best ever written about the American West.
  5. The Martian Chronicles. This hooked me on science fiction, and Ray Bradbury, whom I tried to imitate with my own SF stories written as a teenager (I sold my first when I was 18).
P.S. This is a very difficult list to make, leaving out some equally deserving favorites such as The Great Gatsby, Hammett, Faulkner, Ragtime, John Dos Passos's U.S.A. trilogy, et cetera.

Film: "Dodge City." The "history" in this 1939 Errol Flynn epic for Warner Bros. is dubious to nonexistent, yet I vividly remember seeing the picture as a seven-year-old kid in Terre Haute, Indiana, where it had an enormous impact, introducing me to the drama and color of the American past.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 11 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 14 of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 2, 2011

    Highly recommend

    Thisis the second book in this series. I read the fist book and then found out there was a second book that continued the story. Very written and enjoyable. Once I started I could not put it down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2000

    The perfect ending for Homeland.

    Right after I finished Homeland I went for this sequel. And again, John Jakes didn't disappoint me.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2013

    Teresa

    Thank you i'll need it.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2013

    Beth to Teresa

    Im am being forced to quit nook. I guess you were too? I am on Howrse. Its a gaming website where you breed horses and stuff. It has a private messaging feature. If you ever can set up an account, my username is: betherfly. You can send me messages on there. Otherwise, this is goodbye. I will miss you so much! I know your life is very different from mine, but you have been a good example and role model for me! I have enjoyed getting to know you these past (almost) two years! I have learned a lot from you and maybe you learned something from me? I have been praying for you. God doesn't make leval planets or lives, so there will be ups and downs all over the place on both! Its all for the purpose of bringing you closer to Him. I don't know if you have believed on Christ Jesus as your salvation from sins, but l hope you do soon if you haven't already. Anything good you might see in me comes from Him. I love you. Jesus loves you. Hope to hear from you on Howrse, but bye for now&hearts

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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