Smiley, Jane "Early Warning" (Last Hundred Years: A Family Saga #2) - 2015
I like Jane Smiley. I have read quite a few of her books (which you can see here) and was really excited when I noticed that she'd written a trilogy about the last century.
After having read "Some Luck", I already knew that this was more or less a book about the last century in the United States of America, not as much into international politics as Ken Follett's "Century Trilogy", so don't start comparing.
I'd call this more a family saga, and I like them, as well. It is good that they included a family tree but I also would have liked a short introduction, a short retelling of the first book, especially since I couldn't read it right away. I hope she will introduce this in the third part "Golden Age" since there are so many more characters now than there were after the first novel.
I still like this book, mainly because of Jane Smiley's style which I think is always a good read. However, as I said above, I expected something else, more outside of the family, more history and politics. The previous book was announced "The first novel in a dazzling, epic new trilogy from the winner of the Pulitzer Prize; a literary adventure that will span a century in America". It didn't say it would only spin a century of ONE family in America. I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if it had been announced as a family saga and nothing else.
From the back cover: "1953. When a funeral brings the Langdon family together once more, they little realize how much, over the coming years, each of their worlds will shift and change. For now Walter and Rosanna's sons and daughters are grown up and have children of their own. Frank, the eldest - restless, unhappy - ignores his troubled wife and instead finds himself distracted by a face from the past.
Lillian must watch as her brilliant, eccentric husband Arthur is destroyed by the guilt arising from his secretive government work. Claire, too, finds that marriage is not quite what she expected it to be.
In Iowa where the Langdons began, Joe sees that some aspects of life on the farm never change, while others are unrecognizable. And though a few members of the family remain mired in the past, others will attempt.
In Iowa where the Langdons began, Joe sees that some aspects of life on the farm never change, while others are unrecognizable. And though a few members of the family remain mired in the past, others will attempt to move beyond the lives they have always known; and some will push forward as never before. The dark shadow of the Vietnam War hangs over every one . . .
In sickness and health, through their best and darkest times, the Langdon family will live and love and suffer against the broad, merciless sweep of American history. Moving from the 1950s to the 1980s, Early Warning is epic storytelling at its most wise and compelling from a writer at the height of her powers."