Books: Black and White

THE COVENANT by James A. Michener Random House; 873 pages; $15.95 James Michener is the last conquistador.

Where he walks, gold appears, usually in the form of royalty checks. Under his feet, the South Pacific, Hawaii, Spain, even the Chesapeake Bay, have become the subjects of phenomenal bestsellers. No nation seems capable of resisting his advances—including the harsh social terrain of South Africa. After 14 weeks on the bestseller list, The Covenant demands more than a review; it requires a salute.

In his 30th book, Michener manages to cover 15,000 years of African history, from the ritual-haunted tribes of Bushmen to...

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