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by John Jakes

Pub Date: July 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-525-94437-0
Publisher: Dutton

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)