JAMES A. MICHENER was born in New York in 1907 and grew up in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, which he left at fourteen to bum his way cross-country. The years that followed, with their great variety of odd jobs and experience, were an important part of his early education. Feeling the need for some more formal training, he entered Swarthmore College and studied in the honors course. After some postgraduate years of teaching others how to teach he became an associate editor in the textbook department...See more
JAMES A. MICHENER was born in New York in 1907 and grew up in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, which he left at fourteen to bum his way cross-country. The years that followed, with their great variety of odd jobs and experience, were an important part of his early education. Feeling the need for some more formal training, he entered Swarthmore College and studied in the honors course. After some postgraduate years of teaching others how to teach he became an associate editor in the textbook department of a publishing firm where his stay was interrupted by World War II. Out of his war time experience in the Salomon Islands came Tales of the South Pacific (Pulitzer Prize, 1947), which was adopted into the musical South Pacific by Rodgers, Logan and Hammerstein. There followed Fires of Spring, an autobiographical novel: Return to Paradise; The Voice of Asia: The Bridges at Toko-Ri; Saronaya: The Floating World; The Story of Japanese Prints; The Bridge at Andau and (with A. Grove Day) Rascals in Paradise. Hawaii is not just a literary interest for James A. Michener; it is also a home. He established residence in the islands a few years ago and he has become an active participant in the civic affairs of Hawaii. His keen interest in statehood for Hawaii manifested itself in activities on many fronts. James Michener himself was a foundling. A foundling is a baby who is abandoned at birth by his mother and often left on the steps of a church or a hospital or, worse yet, left in a trash dumpster. Michener was never able to find out who his mother and father were. This was unfortunate for them, as Michener became a millionaire due to the popularity of his works and they could have gotten the money had they identified themselves. His birth date is listed as February 3, 1907 but Michener wrote that he did not know who his biological parents were or exactly when or where he was born. He said he was raised a Quaker by an adoptive mother, Mabel Michener, in Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. By the way, my family was from there too!!! Michener did not have children, as his Japanese wife never had children, so Michener has neither known ancestors nor descendants. Having no family to leave his money to, Michener contributed more than $100 million to universities, libraries, museums, and other charitable causes. In his final years, the Micheners lived in Austin, Texas. He and his wife endowed the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin. It provides Michener Fellowship scholarships to students accepted to the university's MFA in Writing graduate writing program. His last wife, who was Japanese, died in 1994. Michener had no children. Suffering from terminal kidney disease, in October 1997, Michener ended the daily Dialysis treatments that had kept him alive for four years. He said he had accomplished what he wanted and did not want further physical complications. On October 16, 1997, James A. Michener died of kidney failure at the age of 90. He was cremated and his ashes were placed next to those of his wife at Austin Memorial Park Cemetery in Austin, Texas. With modern DNA testing it may be possible to dig up his cremated remains and find out who his biological parents were, but why would anybody want to do that? See less
The following is a personality profile of James A Michener based on his work.
James A Michener is heartfelt, confident and social.
He is confident, he is hard to embarrass and is self-confident most of the time. He is empathetic as well: he feels what others feel and is compassionate towards them. But, James A Michener is also calm-seeking: he prefers activities that are quiet, calm, and safe.
More than most people, his choices are driven by a desire for belongingness.
Considers helping others to guide a large part of what he does: he thinks it is important to take care of the people around him. He is also relatively unconcerned with achieving success: he makes decisions with little regard for how they show off his talents.
Although this book is billed as historical fiction, it is far, far more than that. James Michener (1907-2007) was a prolific writer and the hallmark of his historical novels is the painstaking ... Read More