John Jakes is best known by his eight novel series of the “Kent Family Chronicles,” which includes “The Bastard’ (1974), “The Rebels” (1975), “The Seekers” (1975), “The Furies” (1976), “The Titans (1976), “The Warriors” (1977), “The Lawless” (1978), “The Americans” (1980).

The Kent Family Chronicles span five generations of this flamboyant, proud family. The Kent family and their drive, their conflicts, and loves set against the thundering turbulence and searing drama of a nation struggling to survive. The reader will thirst for more from one novel to the next and find the need to continue to reach for finality. As this reporter found out while riding across the country with my husband in his 18 wheel truck some years ago I was fortunate enough to see some of the country these novels told about and it made the reading become more alive in my mind’s eye.

Jakes novels are a mix of intrigue, love, and war among his character’s lives.

The North and South Trilogy, “North and South” (1982) "Love and War"(1984) “Heaven and Hell,” was made into a TV mini-series in the 1980’s and starred Patrick Swazye, Jean Simmonsera, Kirstie Alley, Elizabeth Taylor, Robert Mitchum, Hal Holbrook and Jonathan Frakes.

A substantial share of Jake’s novels are centered around the Civil War era but his works have also touched on the era of the 1900’s and the influx of immigrants to the United States in The Crown Family Saga “Homeland” and “American Dreams” These epic novels replay the lives of the Crown family of Chicago, a German-American immigrant dynasty each following dreams along life’s path only to find the road tough going. “California Gold” is the story of gold and greed among men who seek to control land and people in the infancy of California and the gold rush. The story spans from 1886 to1921. “On Secret Service” (June 2000) follows the life of two couples intermingling with historical figures such as Allan Pinkerton, George McCellan, Abraham Lincoln, Jeb Stuart, and John Wilkes Booth.

I find it hard to recommend just one of John Jakes novels since they all have such important stories to tell and are historically correct. I think my favorite is “California Gold” (Signet Paperbacks, ISBN 0451203976) just for the fact that it gives his readers the exciting drama of the gold rush and the land barons of the era.

John Jakes latest novel “Savannah” (Or a gift for Mr. Lincoln) was profiled in our Janurary 2005 Books here at Issues Magazine and we present an interview with him in our current issue.
-- Christine K. Rex

Highway Hypodermics
Your Road Map to Travel Nursing
By Epstein LaRue, RN, BS

Star Publish, 2005
ISBN: 1932993169
Publishers Website:
Contact Reviewer:
Rating 5 of 5

The Perfect Gift for a Career-Minded High School Graduate

The True Dope on How to Combine Nursing
And a Love of Travel

Reviewed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This is the Place, Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered and The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won't

Highway Hypodermic by Epstein LaRue may be a one-of-a-kind book. That is a rarity but apparently true. After a search on Amazon and a couple of other online bookstores, I found nothing on the subject of making nursing-on-wheels a career.

LaRue says she wrote this book so that a professional nurse "can make an informed decision about your career change into travel nursing." But Highway Hypodermics will also be valuable for anyone considering a nursing career of any kind for Larue doesn't mince words. She tells all she knows about the distractions, difficulties and benefits of becoming any kind of a nurse as well as fully informing readers about a nursing niche that few others could tell them about.

LaRue's strength is twofold. She speaks from experience--lots of it--and she speaks in a casual, straight-from-the-heart voice. Her honesty is impeccable. My favorite chapters are those in which she reveals her own journals. By doing so, she opens a window on her world--both personal and in terms of her chosen career. We often look to memoir to learn more about ourselves; perhaps all those considering nursing will find it an advantage to do that before they choose this difficult but rewarding field. By combining this mirror to her life in a how-to book, LaRue offers up a nursing guide like no other.

* * *

Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the award-winning author of This is the Place and Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered. The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won't (#1 Bestselling E-book at: Purchase the paperback at was just named USA Book News "Best Professional Book of 2004."

Learn more at

"After reading THE FRUGAL BOOK PROMOTER you may know more about book publicity than your publisher." Tim Bete, director of the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop and author of IN THE BEGINNING THERE WERE NO DIAPERS


The Musician's PlaceTo Shop!
Instant Gift Certificates!

© 2001-2005 Issues Magazine.
All Rights Reserved.

Get 15 FREE prints!