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Early Warning: Last Hundred Years: A Family Saga Series, Book 2
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From the Pulitzer Prize-winner: the second installment, following Some Luck, of her widely acclaimed, best-selling American trilogy, which brings the journey of a remarkable family with roots in the Iowa heartland into mid-century America Early Warning opens in 1953 with the Langdon family at a crossroads. Their stalwart patriarch, Walter, who with his wife, Rosanna, sustained their farm for three decades, has suddenly died, leaving their five children, now adults, looking to the future. Only one will remain in Iowa to work the land, while the others scatter to Washington, D.C., California, and everywhere in between. As the country moves out of post–World War II optimism through the darker landscape of the Cold War and the social and sexual revolutions of the 1960s and '70s, and then into the unprecedented wealth—for some—of the early 1980s, the Langdon children each follow a different path in a rapidly changing world. And they now have children of their own: twin boys who are best friends and vicious rivals; a girl whose rebellious spirit takes her to the notorious Peoples Temple in San Francisco; and a golden boy who drops out of college to fight in Vietnam—leaving behind a secret legacy that will send shock waves through the Langdon family into the next generation. Capturing a transformative period through richly drawn characters we come to know and care deeply for, Early Warning continues Smiley's extraordinary epic trilogy, a gorgeously told saga that began with Some Luck and will span a century in America. But it also stands entirely on its own as an engrossing story of the challenges—and rewards—of family and home, even in the most turbulent of times, all while showcasing a beloved writer at the height of her considerable powers. From the Hardcover edition.
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Street Date:
04/28/2015
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780385352437
ASIN:
B00PP36EE8
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APA Citation (style guide)

Jane Smiley. (2015). Early Warning: Last Hundred Years: A Family Saga Series, Book 2. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Jane Smiley. 2015. Early Warning: Last Hundred Years: A Family Saga Series, Book 2. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Jane Smiley, Early Warning: Last Hundred Years: A Family Saga Series, Book 2. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2015.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Jane Smiley. Early Warning: Last Hundred Years: A Family Saga Series, Book 2. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2015. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • bioText: JANE SMILEY is the author of numerous novels, including A Thousand Acres, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, and most recently, Some Luck, the first volume of The Last Hundred Years trilogy, long-listed for the National Book Award. She is also the author of five works of nonfiction and a series of books for young adults. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she has also received the PEN USA Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature. She lives in Northern California.

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Early Warning
fullDescription
From the Pulitzer Prize-winner: the second installment, following Some Luck, of her widely acclaimed, best-selling American trilogy, which brings the journey of a remarkable family with roots in the Iowa heartland into mid-century America
Early Warning opens in 1953 with the Langdon family at a crossroads. Their stalwart patriarch, Walter, who with his wife, Rosanna, sustained their farm for three decades, has suddenly died, leaving their five children, now adults, looking to the future. Only one will remain in Iowa to work the land, while the others scatter to Washington, D.C., California, and everywhere in between.
As the country moves out of post–World War II optimism through the darker landscape of the Cold War and the social and sexual revolutions of the 1960s and '70s, and then into the unprecedented wealth—for some—of the early 1980s, the Langdon children each follow a different path in a rapidly changing world. And they now have children of their own: twin boys who are best friends and vicious rivals; a girl whose rebellious spirit takes her to the notorious Peoples Temple in San Francisco; and a golden boy who drops out of college to fight in Vietnam—leaving behind a secret legacy that will send shock waves through the Langdon family into the next generation.
Capturing a transformative period through richly drawn characters we come to know and care deeply for, Early Warning continues Smiley's extraordinary epic trilogy, a gorgeously told saga that began with Some Luck and will span a century in America. But it also stands entirely on its own as an engrossing story of the challenges—and rewards—of family and home, even in the most turbulent of times, all while showcasing a beloved writer at the height of her considerable powers.
From the Hardcover edition.
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Diane Leach, PopMatters
      • content: "In Early Warning, the five grown Langdon children take center stage, and [the book] concludes in 1986, with a second generation heading offstage to make room for their children. They take with them the rise and fall of disco, the beginnings of AIDS, the terror of nuclear war. There is a grandeur to this--the novel engrosses us. We fall for the Langdons as the pages turn, their lives passing with terrible speed as the new generation waits impatiently for their turn in the sun. Take consolation in Golden Age, the trilogy's final installment, arriving in October (Smiley is certain to have a field day with Presidents Bush). And don't forget the solace of rereading. Novels may take liberties with lives, speeding them along, but characters, unlike their creators, are immortal."
      • premium: False
      • source: Amy Goodfellow Wagner, examiner.com (five stars)
      • content: "Triumphant. Richly engrossing . . . Smiley propels the Langdons--and her readers--into American life. Here are the big historic events [from 1953 to 1986]--from the Cold War to Vietnam; JFK's presidency and assassination to the Jonestown mass suicides; Watergate to the Iran hostage crisis; the AIDS epidemic to the sexual revolution--that defined those times. [But] while history shapes Early Warning, it is the personal dramas that command attention. Charismatic, amoral Frank, who seems to make money at whatever he turns to, is still at the center . . . Smiley's saga mines the inner lives of its characters. Early Warning is a masterful novel that sets the universal questions about love, family, home and identity against the background of a turbulent century. If there is a flaw, it is only that readers will have to wait for The Golden Age, the final volume of Smiley's brilliantly conceived epic trilogy."
      • premium: False
      • source: Wendy Ward, Baltimore City Paper
      • content: "Smiley's most significant work . . . Early Warning's scope is broad without ever veering off course. It's about the adult Langdon children and the people they're becoming, who they've created, the lives they've lived and built, along with all the political, natural, social, economical, ecological, fashionable, and cultural happenings that swirl around them on and off the farm. If anyone thought the prolific Smiley peaked with A Thousand Acres, they'd be wrong . . . Absorbing."
      • premium: False
      • source: The New Yorker
      • content: "A king-size American quilt of a novel, with fifty-plus characters and thirty-four years of plot about an ambitious Midwestern clan [whose] family members range across the midcentury political spectrum . . . Smiley has a superb ear for downhome understatement."
      • premium: False
      • source: Roy Hoffman, The New York Times Book Review
      • content: "Expansive yet intimate . . . crisply detailed. The second volume of Smiley's trilogy takes the Langdons through 1986. While the siblings at the novel's heart chart their own paths, they're never truly apart. While [an] older sister feels she's 'known true love from the day she was born,' the youngest wants to forgive their mother, 'but she couldn't remember what for.' Among the novel's many successes are those contradictory touch points; when the personal and the public match up (in a Vietnam chapter worthy of Tim O'Brien), the narrative can be heartbreaking. The Langdon family is a vast, collective character unto itself--lovingly claustrophobic, emotionally interdependent, sending out ever more branches."
      • premium: False
      • source: Meredith Maran, Los Angeles Review of Books
      • content: "Early Warning opens two weeks after Joseph Stalin's death in 1953--more challenging authorial territory [than Some Luck]; Smiley succeeds not by following convention, but by creating conventions of her own. Ignoring the traditional novelistic template, she replicates in these novels the less synchronized, plodding pace of unmappable, everyday real life. As in real life, crises erupt in a disorderly fashion, and then recede, and then arise again. Characters are tested in small moments as well as during life-altering events. Problems, relationships, situations are resolved, only to present themselves again. Early Warning unfolds during perhaps the most fascinating chunk of the century under this trilogy's consideration: 1953–1986. Big things happen in
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        January 26, 2015
        Smiley has a big cast to wrangle in the second volume of the Last Hundred Years trilogy, which began with 2014’s Some Luck, and she starts this entry at the funeral of Walter, the Iowa farmer and paterfamilias of volume one. While the Langdons, scattered across New York, Chicago, and California, reunite, readers get a refresher on the family relationships. Covering 1953 to 1986 at a clip of one year per chapter, the focus here is the Cold War and its fallout. This material occasionally feels like the greatest hits of the post-WWII era, with Langdons brushing up against a Kennedy assassination, Jonestown, and Vietnam. And since the post-war baby boom means cousins by the dozens, the cast of characters isn’t as vivid and particular as it was in the knock-out first volume. Still, Smiley keeps you reading; as a writer she is less concerned about individual characters, but still as deft as ever at conveying the ways in which a family develops: some stories carrying on, while others fall away. This isn’t a series you can start in the middle, so pick up Some Luck, ride out the Depression and WWII with Walter, Rosanna, and Frank, then come back to the atom-and-adultery-haunted volume two.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        February 15, 2015
        Opening with the 1953 funeral of patriarch Walter, Smiley follows the Langdon family introduced in Some Luck (2014, etc.) through its second and third generations.Only steady second son Joe stayed home on the Iowa farm; he watches the land soar in value during the 1970s, though the farmer fatalism he inherited from Walter is justified when crop prices tank in the '80s. Brilliant, predatory older brother Frank rises through the Manhattan business world while wife Andy raises their kids on automatic pilot, devoting her principal energies to psychoanalysis and worrying about nuclear war. Lillian has the happiest marriage among the siblings, though husband Arthur's employment at the CIA provokes several crises of conscience. Observing them all in her customary critical spirit, widowed Rosanna cautiously expands her horizons, learning to drive and paying a visit to youngest son Henry, a gay academic, in Chicago. His sister Claire finally dumps her husband in 1979, after years of never talking back. "He had failed to pass the test," she judges, "not daring to recognize that all was changed." Smiley's narrative web snares almost every major postwar social change, and inevitably there are some generic touches: One member of the third generation is killed in Vietnam, another gets involved with Jim Jones' Peoples Temple. Such boilerplate is generally redeemed with nicely specific details, as when Andy imagines the impending nuclear apocalypse to be something like the Ragnarok envisioned by her Norse forebears. Each of the large cast of characters has sharply individualized traits, and though we're seldom emotionally wrapped up in their experiences-Smiley has never been the warmest of writers-they are unfailingly interesting. The surprise 1986 appearance of a hitherto unsuspected relative prompts a semiconfrontation between Arthur and resentful daughter Debbie that reminds us life and love are never perfect-they simply are. Sags a bit, as trilogy middle sections often do, but strong storytelling and a judicious number of loose ends will keep most readers looking forward to the promised third volume.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from March 1, 2015
        Smiley continues the multigenerational, cross-country saga of the Iowa-rooted Langdon family she began in Some Luck (2014). As before, each chapter covers a year, this time from 1953 to 1986, and once again Smiley adeptly meshes diverse personal experiences with landmark events and seismic shifts in social consciousness. First-born Frank, a darkly glamorous former WWII sniper with an eidetic memory, glides into the upper echelons of the booming postwar weapons and oil industries while continuing to assist Arthur, his profoundly tormented CIA operative brother-in-law, in covert operations. Frank's wife fears the atomic bomb, lies to her psychoanalysts, and drinks too much, while their daughter is drawn into Reverend Jim Jones' Peoples Temple, and their twin sons practice a violent form of sibling rivalry. Arthur and Lillian's son serves in Vietnam; Frank's professor brother carefully embraces his taboo sexuality; sister Claire endures a smothering marriage; and the matriarch, Rosanna, turns startlingly adventurous. With penetrating looks at the military, the dawn of rock and roll, the Kennedy and King assassinations, Watergate, and the farm crisis, Smiley demonstrates an incisive historical perspective, virtuosic omniscient narration, free-flowing empathy, and a gift for sparring dialogue. Every scene is saturated with sensuous and emotional detail as Smiley consummately articulates the micro and the macro, the comedic and the tragic in this grand story of an iconic American family. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Best-selling Some Luck was beloved by critics and readers alike, ensuring an enthusiastic reception for the second novel in Smiley's extraordinary Last Hundred Years trilogy as the author tours the country.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2015, American Library Association.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        December 1, 2014

        In Some Luck, an LJ Best Book of 2014, Pulitzer Prize winner Smiley profiled an Iowa farm family in the mid-1900s. In this second in a trilogy, family patriarch Walter Langdon has died, and his children have fanned out across the country. The narrative moves year by year from 1953 to 1986, encompassing Cold War blinkeredness, Sixties rebellion, and escalating wealth into the Eighties. With a 75,000-copy first printing.

        Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        April 1, 2015

        Continuing where 2014's Some Luck left off, this second work in the trilogy follows the complicated Langdon siblings after the death of patriarch Walter in 1955. Eldest son Frank is unhappily married to alcoholic Andy, who frets about her lack of maternal instinct. While Joe lingers on the Iowa farm with homely wife Lois, wondering what could have been, Lillian settles down with secretive Arthur, Claire hastily marries an older Paul, and everyone wonders why affable Henry is still a bachelor. Pulitzer Prize-winning Smiley (A Thousand Acres) paints pictures with her words, describing the intricacies of each character, even the unlikable, as the family steadily grows owing to marriages and births. As in Some Luck, each chapter here represents one year, with the Langdons reflecting on events of the 1960s and 1970s and warmhearted Lillian becoming the matriarch, uniting the disparate cousins. Although the narrative can be predictable at times, Smiley's beautifully descriptive writing compensates. VERDICT Those new to this multigenerational saga should start with Some Luck. Those already familiar will be eager to continue with the inevitable conflicts among cousins and the appearance of an unexpected family member that await in the third volume. While Smiley's latest offering is not as captivating as the first installment, readers interested in a story well told will be satisfied. [See Prepub Alert, 2/12/15.]--Stephanie Sendaula, Library Journal

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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shortDescription
From the best-selling author and winner of the Pulitzer Prize: a riveting, emotionally engaging journey through mid-century America, as lived by a remarkable family with roots in the heartland of Iowa

Early Warning opens in 1953 with the Langdon family at a crossroads. Their stalwart patriarch, Walter, who with his wife, Rosanna, sustained their farm for three decades, has suddenly died, leaving their five children, now adults, looking to the future. Only one will remain in Iowa to work the land, while the others scatter to Washington, D.C., California, and everywhere in between.

As the country moves out of post--World War II optimism through the darker landscape of the Cold War and the social and sexual revolutions of the 1960s and '70s, and then into the unprecedented wealth--for some--of the early 1980s, the Langdon children each follow a different path in a rapidly changing world. And they now have children of their own: twin boys who are best...
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Last Hundred Years: A Family Saga Series, Book 2
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