The Drifters

The Drifters

4.5 26
by James A. Michener

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In his triumphant best seller, James Michener unfolds a powerful and poignant drama of six young runaways adrift in a world they have created out of dreams, drugs, and dedication to pleasure. With the sure touch of a master, Michener pulls us into the dark center of their private world, whether it's in Spain, Marrakech, or Mozambique, and exposes the naked nerve ends


In his triumphant best seller, James Michener unfolds a powerful and poignant drama of six young runaways adrift in a world they have created out of dreams, drugs, and dedication to pleasure. With the sure touch of a master, Michener pulls us into the dark center of their private world, whether it's in Spain, Marrakech, or Mozambique, and exposes the naked nerve ends with shocking candor and infinite compassion.
"A superior, picaresque novel...and a revealing mirror held up to contemporary society."

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A blockbuster of a book . . . full of surprise, drama, and fascination.”—Philadelphia Bulletin
“Rings with authentic detail and clearly descriptive sights and smells . . . The Drifters is to the generation gap what The Source was to Israel.”Publishers Weekly
“[The Drifters] conveys a sense of a new time, a new generation.”Chicago Sun-Times
“Michener has slid open a window on the world of the dropout and has spared no effort to make the reader aware of this new world.”The Salt Lake Tribune

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:

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Meet the Author

James A. Michener was one of the world’s most popular writers, the author of more than forty books of fiction and nonfiction, including the Pulitzer Prize–winning Tales of the South Pacific, the bestselling novels The Source, Hawaii, Alaska, Chesapeake, Centennial, Texas, Caribbean, and Caravans, and the memoir The World Is My Home. Michener served on the advisory council to NASA and the International Broadcast Board, which oversees the Voice of America. Among dozens of awards and honors, he received America’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 1977, and an award from the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities in 1983 for his commitment to art in America. Michener died in 1997 at the age of ninety.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
February 3, 1907
Date of Death:
October 16, 1997
Place of Death:
Austin, Texas
B.A. in English and history (summa cum laude), Swarthmore College, 1929; A.M., University of Northern Colorado, 1937.

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The Drifters 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For anyone wanting to understand life in the counter culture world during the Viet Nam conflict this is a must read . The discriptions of the locations and the attitudes of the characters are incredible . I know because I spent two and a half years in Europe during that time . This is by far the best book written of that time period .
Guest More than 1 year ago
James A Michener goes to many places in this book and has a wide variety of characters to get interested in.Michener describes how the draft dodgers of the 60's were compared to the underground railroad.He tells much about different lands,cultures and events throughout europe.He covers everything from drugs, to wealthy women , to airplane mechanics who all develope a friendship in their travels, and Michener deffinatly keeps it interesting by switching up who is actually narrorating the story.'The Drifters' is a great book to get into, even though it seems like a huge book at first, but as soon as you start reading you are never bored with the actions taking place in the drifters.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This an awesome book. Michener did a fantastic job writing this book. If you like adventure you should definitely read this one. It's also great for young adults or college students. With every new character introduced it brings the book more alive. Each new character brings the story together. Each adventure they take makes you want to be there with them. With each turn of the page, the excitement builds. If you want to read a book and live it read this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
After nearly two decades of non-reading, I have rediscovered Michener. I originally read this novel in 1980 (or was it '79?). I was a sailor aboard a submarine going to the Mediterranean. This book influenced my life --- I bought a backpack and did a quick two-week jaunt around parts of Europe. Two years later; when getting out of the Navy, I bought my own ticket to Europe, and backpacked for a month. This book truly opened up some new and awesome experiences for me. I am indebted to Mr Michener for that. I truly enjoy his storytelling 'style' and the way he weaves his made-up characters into historical times and settings.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was unsure about this book because I grew up after the time period. However, Michener came through again. Six 'lost' young people in 1969 come together. They all have their problems and their own identity questions. Michener gives us plenty of reasons why we should and should not care about these people. This book is not thematic in approach (like The Source and Chesapeake). Still, Michener reminds us that throughout history young people have had trouble realizing who they are and what they stand for. A bit slow at first as Michener brings his characters together. In the end I did not want to put this book down and I never wanted to finish this book because it was too good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I lived the years in which this book was written. I so enjoyed the story. Obviously there was a lot of research done by Mr. Michener on the book before it was written. The books are long but well written. There is history within the storyline.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book. James Michener does an incredible job. The charactar development and the story itself is fascinating. This book makes me want to pack my bags and go on an adventure. I would reccommend this book to anyone who likes adventure.
Anonymous 8 months ago
Babysoft More than 1 year ago
Spellbound.  Hated when it was over.  Have always wanted to travel to Toremollinoes, Spain since reading this book.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
A great novel for any Michener fan.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Drifters is a very interesting tell of six people that meet up, and go on an adventure. For myself I really didn't like the book too much, because I would get lost during the book. Then I would understand later on in the book. When following the six characters I would get mixed up, and just confused, so I didn't enjoy reading this book. On the otherhand, the book is an interesting tell of these six character. The book is long, and can go on for something of less importance along the way. I would recommended this book to someone who enjoys adventure, and a complex book dealing with many people and situations to keep track of.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Drifters is an awesome journey of a group a kids who 'find' themselves by running away from home. For the most part I enjoyed the book. I learned a lot about the precious time of the late sixties that I never knew of before. I recommened this book to anyone who wants a free trip to Europe. This book however is long and can wander around a little. But for the most part it is an awesome book and I would personally recommend it to anyone who is the mood for adventure, and history.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great book for somebody who enjoys reading about adventures. It follows 7 people on journies through Europe and Africa. It has a great story line and evaluates key issues of the 1960's and 70's. If anyone is looking for a book that has actual issues mixed with adventure and struggle, this is the book for you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a good book, very adventurous. This book is about seven people who roam around the world. They are kept up in dreams, pleasure, and drugs. I recommend this book to everyone. This book is exciting and keeps you interested throughout the whole story with all the different characters and their different personalities. The story is so alive. You would never know that it is non-fiction.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The drifter was a good book i thought it was a little long and drawn out ,but for the most if you like a book where you can get to know your character before the journey start it a great read ,and if you like to learn about other places and different time periods of this world. The best part for me was it was about young adult like my self.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I like this book becuase it thought me a lot of things about life especialy about kids who run away from the draft. I did not know it was people who was out in the wourl that would help you run away from the draft. Also I lke this book because it show how teenegers can go to Spain and live their lives and enjoy their life also.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I realy enjoyed reading this book it was a good book to pick up and read all the character realy made this book They all had things going on which made them venture out in to the world. I would recommand reading this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. Michener did an excellent job at developing his characters in this book. After reading it I would love to visit any of the places that Michener has described. He describes beautiful places throughout Europe, and also talks about events that took place in the United States. I would definately recommend this book to anyone who likes to travel, likes to read about adventures that young people take, or a college student looking for a good book to read. Michener could not have told his story of The Drifters any better than he did.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed the character develop in the first half of the book, and enjoyed the second half even more. As much as I wanted to complete the book, I did not want it to end. The quality of writing, along with references to history and literature has me reading and researching based off of the novel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A must-read for Michener fan. This novel is hard to put down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was one of the best books I have ever read.I having grown up in the relitivly recent years have always had a deep yearning for a good view of the group of kids i could never be a part of;namely the late 60s kids.Though after the first 100 pages I wasn't really impressed I stuck with the book and I'm really glad I did because it was worth every second I spent on it's 700 pages.It has helped me realize that the counter-culture of the time that I had imagined really did.He also has a very strong vocab in the book too so i ended up learning alot of words that i didnt know before.Just an all around great book.