Recently finished James Michener's Poland. I've been a huge Michener fan for a couple of decades. My first Michener book was The Source, the history of the people and events that surrounded a well in modern day Israel. What a ride. I've pored through Michener's books on Alaska, Colorado, Texas, Mexico, the Chesapeake Bay, and Hawaii. Reading the last page of a Michener book never fails to leave me feeling disappointed that the great ride is over.
Poland was missing something. It could have been difficult Polish names that slowed me down. Long technical passages about Chopin and other Polish composers derailed me as well. I just didn't have the background knowledge to follow. While I drifted off from time, Michener always pulled me back. Poland's geographic positioning has lent itself to invasions, lots of invasions. The Polish people have withstood invasions by the Tartars, The Turks, The Swedes, Russia and the Soviet Union (3 times), Germany (twice), and I know I'm leaving someone belligerent county out here. The point is Poland remains. The Nazis were responsible for the death of more than 20 percent of the Polish population. Hitler fully intended to exterminate the entire country. After Hitler, the USSR, after centuries of invasions, Poland remains. Michener's story of Poland is one of those great triumphs of the human spirt.
While I list Poland the worst Michener book I've had occasion to read, it's still falls among the best books I've had occasion to read.
* Whoa, this is embarrassing. Michener did write a book called Sayonara. While it was an interesting book about American soldiers who married Japanese women during the Post World War II occupation of Japan, Sayonara wasn't nearly as good as Poland. I totally forgot about Sayonara.
It's not like I'm going to rewrite the whole post.