James Michener (1907-1997) was an American author. His works include Tales of the South Pacific (1947), Hawaii (1959), The Drifters (1971), Chesapeake (1978), Alaska (1988), and Mexico (1992). He won a Pulitzer Prize for Tales of the South Pacific.
Life and Works
Michener was born February 3, 1907 and was adopted as an infant. He was raised a Quaker, attended Swarthmore College (where he joined a fraternity and played basketball) and later taught at other schools, including Harvard University. He served in the Navy during the Second World War, where he got his inspiration for the epic novel Tales of the South Pacific, which was remade into Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical South Pacific. He wrote a great many multigenerational family saga novels set in foreign countries that intensely described the geography, history, and culture of the foreign land, including Hawaii, Iberia: Spanish Travel and Reflections (1968), The Drifters, Chesapeake, The Covenant (1980, about South Africa), Alaska, and Mexico.
He was also a philanthropist and died October 16, 1997, in Austin, Texas.
- The New York Public Library Student's Desk Reference. Prentice Hall: New York, 1991.
- "Michener, James." Encyclopedia Britannica Online.