James A. Michener

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James A. Michener

James Albert Michener (February 3, 1907 - October 16, 1997) was an American writer. He wrote such books as Tales of the South Pacific, Hawaii, The Drifters, Texas, and Poland. Most of his 40 books are very large sagas. They are about the lives of many generations in a particular place. His non-fiction writings include the 1992 book The World is My Home and Sports in America.

Michener wrote that he did not know who his parents were or exactly when and where he was born. He was raised by an adoptive mother, Mabel Michener, in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Some have argued that Mabel was his birth mother. He graduated from Swarthmore College, where he played basketball, in 1929. He later studied at the Colorado State Teachers College. He taught there for several years. He also taught at Harvard University.

His writing career began during World War II. He was assigned to the South Pacific Ocean as a naval historian. He used his time there as the basis for Tales of the South Pacific, his first book. This book was the basis for the musical South Pacific.

Michener met his wife Mari while in Japan. His novel Sayonara is autobiographical.

On January 10, 1977, he was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Gerald R. Ford.

In his final years, he lived in Austin, Texas.

Books by James A. Michener[change | edit source]