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Authors: James A. Michener


BOOK: Centennial
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“Michener is America’s best writer, and he proves it once again in CENTENNIAL. ... If you’re a Michener fan, this book is a must. And if you’re not a Michener fan, CENTENNIAL will make you one.”

—Pittsburgh Press

“Michener is a superb storyteller. ... This is an absorbing work.”

Business Week

“It is certain that CENTENNIAL will be one of the great bestsellers of the decade, if not of the century.”

Milwaukee Journal

“It is much more than a novel. ... Spectacularly written.”


“Big and engrossing novel. ... An engrossing book, an imaginative and intricate one, a book teeming with people and giving a marvelous sense of the land.”

Cleveland Plain Dealer

“It is a hell of a book. ... While he fascinates and engrosses, Michener also educates as he has done in the 18 books which preceded CENTENNIAL.”

Los Angeles Times

Fawcett Crest Books

by James A. Michener

SPORTS IN AMERICA 23204-2 $2.50

THE SOUTH PACIFIC 23669-2 $1.95

E FIRES OF SPRING 22723-5 $1.95

RETURN TO PARADISE 23389-8 $1.95

TOKO-RI 23445-2 $1.50

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HAWAII 23761-3 $2.95

CARAVANS C2734 $1.95

THE SOURCE 23474-6 $2.75

IBERIA 23804-0 $2.95

THE DRIFTERS 23562-9 $2.50

KENT STATE C2744 $1.95

CENTENNIAL 25494-0 $2.95


CALS IN PARADISE 23631-5 $1.95

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James A. Michener




Published by Fawcett Crest Boo
ks, a unit of CBS Publications,

the Consumer Publishing Division of CBS Inc.,

by arrangement with Random House, Inc.

Copyright © 1974 by Random House, Inc.

All rights reserved, i
ncluding the right to reproduce

this book or portions thereof in any form.

ISBN: 0-449-23494-0

All the characters in th
is book are fictitious, and any resemblance

to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

Lyrics from

The Buffalo Skinners

on pages 1023 & 1024, collected, adapted and arranged by John A. Lomax and Alan Lomax, TRO

© Copyright 1934 and renewed 1962 LUDLOW MUSIC, INC., New York, N.Y. Used by permission.

Cover Art Copyright © 1978

CA Publishing,
a division of MCA Inc.

n of the Book-Of-the-Month Club

Selection of the Reader
Digest Condensed Books

Selection of the Playboy Book Club

Printed in the United States of America.

25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18



Three distinguished Colorado newspapermen:

Floyd Merrill of Greeley,

who showed me the rivers;

Otto Unfug of Sterling,

who taught me about cattle;

Clyde Stanley of Keota,

who introduced me to the prairie.



This novel deals with a subject that has concerned me since 1936, when I first came to know the South Platte River. Writing it has been one of the happiest experiences of my life. for it put me in contact with many learned and perceptive people. Among the many to whom I am indebted are these specialists:

: Roger Cuffey and Lauren Wright, Pennsylvania State University; the latter took me on an extended field trip of the Rockies; Gerald Richmond, William Mallory, U. S. Geological Survey; Jack Murphy, Denver Museum of Natural History, who took me on a field trip to dinosaur deposits, Robert Egbert, Phillips Petroleum, who provided preliminary data for the core diagram of Centennial; and especially Ogden Tweto, U.S.G.S., foremost authority on the Rockies, who provided line-by-line checking of the text and the core diagram.

: G. Edward Lewis, U.S.G.S.; Don Lindsay, D.M.N.H.; Bertrand Schultz, Mylan Stout, University of Nebraska; G. E. Untermann, Vernal, Utah; Tobe Wilkins, Dinosaur National Monument; Kay McElroy, Greeley, who took me on a field trip to Pawnee Buttes.

Early Man
: Frank Frazier, Denver; George Frison, University of Wyoming, who took me on an extended field trip to prehistoric Clovis sites; H. M. Wormington, Denver, who allowed me to read the manuscript of her forthcoming book.

Flint Knapping
: Don Crabtree, Kimberley, Idaho; H. M. Wormington, Denver; Bruce Bradley, Cambridge, England, who made a Clovis point for me.

Indian Life
: Virginia Trenholm, Cheyenne; Evelyn Nickeson, Kinnear; Nellie Scott, Fort Washakie; Father Lewis O’Neill, S.J., Stephens; Reverend David Duncombe, Ethete, all of Wyoming.

Early St. Louis
: John Francis McDermott, University of Southern Illinois; Mrs. Odile Trufanow, Denver; George Brooks, Frances Stader, Missouri Historical Society; and Ernest Kirschten, all of St. Louis.

Old Lancaster
: Laura Lundgren, S. E. Dyke, John Ward Willson Loose, Lancaster County Historical Society.

Oregon Trail
: Merrill J. Mattes, National Park Service; Gregory M. Franzwa, St. Louis.

Fort Laramie
: Charles Sharp, Lewis Eaton, Bill Henry, all of Fort Laramie, who showed the most devoted patience in helping on research and field trips; Roger Kent Heape, Belleville, Illinois, who allowed me to read his unpublished thesis on the Treaty of 1851.

Cattle Trails
: C. Boone McClure, Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon, Texas; Dean Krakel, Cowboy Hall of Fame, Oklahoma City; Mrs. Laura Peacock, Jacksboro, Texas; Jessie Newton Yarborough, Robert Lee, Texas.

Ranch Life
: Farrington Carpenter, Hayden, Colorado; Allen Fordyce, Big Horn; Burrell Nickeson, Kinnear, both of Wyoming. The following graciously allowed me to visit their ranches and ask many questions: J. J. Gibson, 6666 Ranch, Guthrie, Texas; Herman Werner, Van Irvine, Casper; Robert and Martha Gibbs, TY Ranch, Arvada, all of Wyoming; and especially Ronald and Virginia Wolff, Two Bar Ranch, Wheatland, Wyoming, who flew me to various historic sites in their ranch plane.

Sugar Beets
: Lyman Andrews, William M. White, Denver, Colorado.

: Gustav Swanson, C.S.U., who took me on a beautiful exploration of the Buttes area.

Denver Stock Show
: Willard Simms, Denver; C. W. Ferguson, Miami.

Mexican-Chicano Problems
: Corky Gonzales, Bernard Valdez, Jim Kent, Minoru Yasui, Denver; Diputado Abelardo Perez Campos, Francisco Almada, Chihuahua, Mexico, the former having shown me extraordinary courtesy; Susan Sellers, Mexico City, who provided much help on Chicano songs.

Dryland Farming
: Isabel Blair, James Reed, Dora Good, all of Sterling, Colorado, the last of whom took me on an extensive field trip to an old line camp.

Cattle Industry
: Larry Yarrington, Sterling, Colorado, who gave me a graduate seminar on artificial insemination; Tom Risinger, Jack Winninger, Cody, Wyoming, who introduced me to Simmentals; Russell Staats, Chugwater, Wyoming, custodian of the great Swan Land Cattle Company operation; Joe Gloyd, Frank Robertson, Wheatland, Wyoming; Gene Gressley, University of Wyoming; Bill Wadlow, Wyoming Hereford Ranch, Cheyenne.

: Dabney Otis Collins, Ross Miller, Frank M. Sellers, Denver, the last-named being the world’s authority on the Sharps rifle; Vernon Gunnion, Lancaster, expert on Melchior Fordney rifles.

: Ed Haley, Denver; Bob Richardson, Colorado Railroad Museum, Golden, Colorado.

: Felix Sparks, Denver; John W. Nelson, Loveland, Colorado; John E. Moore, U.S.G.S.; Glen G. Saunders, Denver, Colorado; E. V. Richardson and Harvey Johnson, Fort Collins, Colorado, who took me on a thrilling field trip to the irrigation canals in the highest Rockies.

: Ed Roberts, Denver; George B. Hatley, Moscow, Idaho.

My thanks also go to Katherine Halverson, Bill Williams and John Cornelison of the Wyoming State Museum and Archives; Randolph Wagner, Wyoming Travel Commission, who showed me his excellent movie on the Oregon Trail; Tony Bevinetto and Charles McCurdy, Grand Teton National Park; Harold McCracken, Whitney Gallery of Western Art at Cody; the Western Pennsylvania Historical Society; Nebraska State Historical Society; Union Pacific Railroad Museum; and to Tom Ten Eyck of Denver, who took me on field trips to study ecology.

No city could have been more pleasant to work in than Denver, except for repeated traffic tickets, the worst winter in 170 years, the hottest summer in 87, and the nation’s most galling gas shortage. Alys Freeze, Western Collection, Denver Public Library, provided invaluable help and so did the entire staff of that estimable institution.

A group of wise and dedicated scholars read segments to help me avoid gross error:
: Wright, Cuffey, Tweto, Schumm;
: Lewis, Schultz, Stout;
Early Man
: Wormington, Crabtree, Bradley;
: Trenholm,
Oregon Trail
: Mattes, Franzwa;
: McDermott;
Fort Laramie
: Heape;
Cattle Trail
: McClure;
: Sellers;
Sugar Beets
: Andrews;
: Moore. They must not be charged with such error as has persisted, because in certain instances I decided to stay with my own interpretations.

During my research I was aided at different and crucial times by two gifted members of the
staff: Leslie Laird, who had earlier helped me on my book on Kent State, and John Kings, who had for some years been a rancher in Wyoming. Tessa Dalton provided much expert guidance on wildlife. These three accompanied me on extensive field trips to Mexico, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. All three were good drivers, amiable storytellers and opposed to smoking.

BOOK: Centennial
13.24Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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