It took me a long while to get through this book (my edition has 1,235 pages), but it was well worth it.Michener's 1980 novel covers the history of South Africa from prehistoric times up until the late 1970s -- which means that it misses out the Mandela presidency and other events associated with the dismantling of apartheid. However, it does detail the historical events leading up to those discriminatory laws.I was fascinated by Michener's presentation of South Africa's very rich, multi-cultural history and enjoyed the fruits of his obvious, in-depth research. The book was rich with detail about politics, culture and even fashions. The characters were not two-dimensional cardboard cut-outs; even the "good guys" had their flaws and the "bad guys" had their redeeming features. In other words, the book was peopled with real human beings, foibles and all.Well worth the time spent to read.