James Albert Michener was the American author of such books as
Tales of the South Pacific (for which he won the Pulitzer Prize
for Fiction in 1948), Hawaii, The Drifters, Centennial, The Source,
The Fires of Spring, Chesapeake, Caribbean, Caravans, Alaska,
Texas, and Poland. The majority of his over 40 titles are sweeping
sagas covering the lives of many generations in a particular geographic
locale and incorporate historical facts into the story as well.
His non-fiction works include the 1992 memoir The World is My
Home and Sports in America.
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, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and some
have argued that Mabel was in fact his biological mother. He graduated
with highest honors from Swarthmore College, where he played basketball,
in 1929. He later attended the Colorado State Teachers College,
earned his master's degree, then taught there for several years.
also taught at Harvard University. His writing career began during
World War II, during which, as a lieutenant commander in the U.S.
Navy, he was assigned to the South Pacific Ocean as a naval historian.
His notes and impressions were later turned into Tales of the
South Pacific, his first book, which was the basis for the Broadway
and film musical South Pacific.
met his wife Mari Yoriko Sabusawa at a luncheon in Chicago, and
his novel Sayonara is pseudoautobiographical. On January 10, 1977,
he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Gerald R.
Ford. In his final years, he lived in Austin, Texas, and was a
prominent celebrity fan of the Texas Longhorns women's basketball
kept careful record of the impact of religion on the election
in my county. The religious issue permeated every meeting I conducted.
It influenced Republicans and Democrats alike. Ministers preached
politics publicly and churches distributed the most vicious electioneering
materials. Practically no one I met escaped the pressure of this
overriding problem and both parties were ultimately forced to
make their major calculations with the religious question a foremost
hatreds ought not to be propagated at all, but certainly not on
a tax-exempt basis."