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John Jakes is a noted American writer who was born in 1932 in Chicago, Illinois. His writings mostly include the American historical fiction and family saga. He was very fond of writing stories since the college days and used to sell a few to pulp magazines. John graduated from the DePauw University, Indiana in the year 1953 and later joined the Ohio State University and got his M.A in American Literature. He started writing for a pharmaceutical corporation and some advertisement agencies after completing in schooling. He used to write short stories at night in mystery and science fiction genres and publish them for livelihood. John Jakesbegan writing professionally when he was still studying in the Northwestern UNiversity and received his first check of $25 when he was only 18 years old. This check enhanced his whole perspective of being a writer and he decided to pursue a career in writing. He is well known for writing a number of family saga series like the Kent Family Chronicles and ‘The North and South Trilogy’. He has given six back to back New York Times Bestsellers. John Jakes used Jay Scotland as his pen name in his writings.
John is tightly praised as ‘the godfather of the historical novel’, ‘America’s history teacher’ and ‘the people’s author’. He has described the life characters of his novels based on the life study of historical personages and designed his series similar to events taking place in U.S and the world during his time. John Jakes has a lot of followers worldwide who are inspired from his strong and historically accurate stories. The outcome of his devoted writing was that 55 million copies of the ‘Kent Family Chronicles’ have been printed and sold and 10 million copies of ‘The North and South Trilogy’. Most of novels have been made into a television series. The first novel of ‘The North and South Triology’ holds the seventh position among the top ten highest rated mini series of all time.
John has achieved honorary doctorates from five top universities and also received the National Cowboy Hall of Fame’s Western Heritage Literary Award in the year 1995 for his story ‘Manitow and Ironhand’. He even received the a dual Celebrity and Citizen’s Award for writing and speaking on behalf of America’s public libraries. He was inducted into the South Carolina Academy of Authors in the year 1996 and received the Professional Achievement Award from the Ohio State University Alumni Association in the following year. He also received the Cooper MEdal from the Thomas cooper Library of South Carolina University. John Jakes also received his highest honor for support of the humanities and Carreer Achivement from the South Carolina Humanities Association. He was a research fellow in the history department at the University of South Carolina for around seven years. A study of his novels was published with the title ‘John Jakes: A Critical Companion’ by Greenwood Press in 1996. The author of this scholarly study was Dr. Mary Ellen Jones of Wittenburg University.
The ‘Kent Family Chronicles’ is an eight novel series written by John Jakes and all the novels of the series sold a huge number of copies worldwide. The first novel of the series was titled ‘The Bastard’ and was published in the year 1974. The fictional characters of the novel, are inspired by the people of the historical events, who tell the story of the United Stated of America during the time of the American Revolution. The main lead of the novel, Philippe Carboneau is a seventeen year old Bastard son of James Amberly, the 6th Duke of Kent. The Duke had a legitimate son in the name of Roger. Philippe wants himself to be accepted by the Duke as his legitimate son and moves to Kent with this intention. But the Duke fell ill and passed away, and the lady Duke and her son Roger refused to accept him as the son of the Duke. Philippe develops a sexual relationship with Roger’s fiancee which worsens the situation and Philippe has to leave Kent for saving his life. He moves to London and trains under the head of a printing company. He is introduced to Benjamin Franklinwho convinces him to move to America. There, he participates in many revolutionary acts such as the Boston Tea Party and becomes a part of the American revolution. He meets Anne and decides to marry her after finishing the Battle of Concord but leaves her to continue his fight against the Britishers. The novel was a huge success for John Jakes and was adapted into a four hour television series in the year 1978 with the same title.
The second novel of the series was titled The Rebels and was published in the year 1975. The story shows the continued participation of Philippe in the American Revolution. Philippe changes his name to Philip Kent during the revolution. A new character in the name of Judson Fletcher is introduced in this novel. Philip marries Anne at the battle of Bunker Hill who gives birth to a son. Judson, who is a drunkard and a womanizer begins an affair with Alicia while attending Congress in Philadelphia. Philip joins the George Washington army and continues to participate in the American revolution battling the Battle of Brandywine, Battle of Monmouth and so on. Judson rapes Peggy McLean and expels Lottie Shaw from her own property. Judson then meets his childhood friend Clark, who recruits him for a military expedition to the Northwest Territory. But he shot by Lottie and left for dead. But he gets out wounded and his military expedition is postponed. Once he recovers from his wounds, he approaches Clark, who refuses to include him in his army due to his drunkenness. Later, Judson is killed when he is hit by a bullet in the scuffle of Clark and a spy. Meanwhile , Anne is abducted by a privateer and Philip gets mustered out of the army with a wounded leg. Philip gets devastated by hearing the news of Anne but later opens a publishing firm named Kent and Son. He marries Peggy McLean, who becomes his second wife.
This novel too was made into a television series with the same title by Operation Prime Time in the year 1979. The television series also became a huge hit same as the novel and further increased the popularity of John Jakes as a noted and well known writer. Other novels of John Jakes were also made into television series most of them having the same title as that of the novel.
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