Books by James A. Michener

Released: Oct. 14, 1996

"Not all will agree with the specifics of Michener's arguments; still, the author makes an admirable effort to define what has made our country great and how to preserve what is best about it."
In a stirring essay on America's past and future, octogenarian novelist Michener (The World is My Home, 1992, etc.) outlines his native land's strong and weak points, and his hopes and fears for America's future. Read full book review >
MIRACLE IN SEVILLE by James A. Michener
Released: Oct. 1, 1995

"Slight, short, harmless, effortless, sometimes informative, and bland."
The Virgin Mary goes to bat for a Spanish rancher of fighting bulls while a Gypsy fortune-teller summons what dark forces she can on behalf of her cowardly matador brother—in this rather pallid little fable-cum-novella from the many-volumed Michener. Read full book review >
RECESSIONAL by James A. Michener
Released: Oct. 1, 1994

"Wooden and schematic."
In his 41st book, Michener (Creatures of the Kingdom, 1993, etc.) offers a feel-good vision of life in a complex for the elderly, oddly skewed by its young protagonist. Read full book review >
MEXICO by James A. Michener
Released: Dec. 1, 1992

"Genteel, free of epic overkill, safe for all ages, although kids may ask, 'What's a bullfight?"
The master of The Big National Treatment (Caribbean, Alaska, Poland, etc.) moves Mexico and Mexican history to the background of a novel about the passions, fine points, and meaning of bullfighting. Read full book review >
MY LOST MEXICO by James A. Michener
Released: Dec. 1, 1992

"Here, in explaining how he conceived characters and action, and how the novel shaped and reshaped itself, Michener offers solid nuts-and-bolts insight into the writing process—making this of moderate interest to aspiring authors, as well as to Michener fans who just can't get enough."
Michener's lost Mexico is, of course, Mexico (p. 1148)—his new, congenial epic about our southern neighbor. Read full book review >
THE WORLD IS MY HOME by James A. Michener
Released: Jan. 1, 1992

"The guess here is that fans and foes alike will find the discontinuous, digressive, and quite delightful narrative at hand as much to their separate tastes as ever."
Altogether engaging if decidedly selective reminiscence from the peripatetic writer (not "author," he stresses) who's one of the world's most successful storytellers. Read full book review >
THE NOVEL by James A. Michener
Released: March 30, 1991

"Michener turns a big chunk of the book world into an easily digested stew only the undemanding will find nourishing or tasty."
Michener now shifts his fictionalizing, schoolmasterly talents to the contemporary world of book publishing, offering clear explanations of simple phenomena but grossly oversimplifying complex issues and people. Read full book review >
PILGRIMAGE by James A. Michener
Released: Oct. 1, 1990

"The brief (128-page), happy-talk text has 39 photographs of notables and lesser lights, which include shots of baseball great Start Musial playing the clown in the Colosseum and elsewhere."
A pretentious trifle from a writer whose fiction, whatever its artistic deficiencies, can at least usually be described as substantial. Read full book review >
THE EAGLE AND THE RAVEN by James A. Michener
Released: Sept. 1, 1990

"Rapid semifiction done in bold strokes, though not densely imagined."
First printing of a novella-sized outtake from Michener's behemoth Texas (1985): the story of the revolution of 1836, which severed Texas from Mexico, and of the duel between firebrand Sam Houston's insurgent Texicans and a punitive Mexican army led by glory-mongering scoundrel Santa Anna. Read full book review >
CARIBBEAN by James A. Michener
Released: Nov. 9, 1989

"Michener is always Michener: this almanac in narrative form will give his huge following a lot of new information painlessly without putting them through any deeply imagined fictional experience."
Is anywhere on earth safe from Michener's roving eye? Read full book review >
SIX DAYS IN HAVANA by James A. Michener
Released: Oct. 6, 1989

"Even more telling, though, are the excellent photographs, brimming with glorious pastels and sun-bred spirit."
Over 150 color photos brighten this breezy account by Michener and longtime assistant Kings (who took most of the pictures) of their recent trip to Cuba to research the novelist's latest tome (Caribbean, p. 1192). Read full book review >
JOURNEY by James A. Michener
Released: July 19, 1989

"Lutton to commemorate the expedition—this is a mere day-trip through Michener's heavy-handed prose and easy travel, no doubt a best-seller."
Cut from the manuscript of Alaska, written in the same flat, fact-filled style, this chapter from the Klondike Gold Rush recounts a disastrous English expedition doggedly intent on reaching the gold fields without straying from Empire soil. Read full book review >
ALASKA by James A. Michener
Released: June 27, 1988

"Whatever its flaws, it's Michener, and the 750,000 first printing leaves no doubt about anything but the cast of the mini-series."
Class convenes with plate tectonics and, before the final bell is rung, Michener doles out nearly 900 pages of Alaskan history in candy-coated, bite-sized vignettes. Read full book review >
LEGACY by James A. Michener
Released: Sept. 14, 1987

"Michener's flag-waving a tough pill to swallow ('the free world must not sit back and let the Reds run rampant'), many (500,000 first printing) will enjoy Michener's birthday present to the Constitution on its bicentennial."
Michener's shortest novel is his timeliest as well, a slick, wide-eyed paean to the Constitution that uses the Iran-contra scandal as a springboard to chronicle one family's historic passion for the American heritage. Read full book review >
TEXAS by James A. Michener
Released: Oct. 28, 1985

"Overall, Michener tames Texas, and if in doing so he flattens some of its flair, he presents its history as a comprehensive and readable whole."
This is a long story, the whole history of Texas, from its very beginnings, as far back as 1540 when the Spanish nobleman Francisco Vasquez de Coronado led an expedition from Mexico to search the northern wilds for gold. Read full book review >
POLAND by James A. Michener
Released: Sept. 15, 1983

"But look to the bestseller lists nonetheless: the facts are piled high, the title is in the headlines, the byline is inescapable."
The dullest, if timeliest, history lesson yet from Michener Junior College—following three Polish clans (noble, petty-noble, peasant) from 1204 A.D. to the present, but with little of the uplifting, dynastic sweep of this mechanical Michener-format at his best. Read full book review >
SPACE by James A. Michener
Released: Oct. 12, 1982

"Big-Book readership."
America's space program, from WW II roots to the 1980s, is the subject of Michener's new mega-faction—so those readers who relished the dynasty/historical-romance aspects of his multi-century epics (Chesapeake, The Covenant, etc.) are likely to be disappointed by the smaller scope and quieter action here. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 1, 1981

"Mostly canned constructiveness and blatant boosterism—but with the pictures here and on TV, it won't displease the multitudes who, understandably, want no truck with talk of 'malaise."
The American Dream is alive and well in Michener's USA—witness the "new optimism" in New England, the prevalence of "racial cooperation" in the Old South, the one-generation ascent of Mexican-Americans in the Southwest. Read full book review >
THE COVENANT by James A. Michener
Released: Nov. 24, 1980

"Easy to put down, then (in both senses of the word), but worthy and welcome."
Is this 900-page South Africa saga much more spotty and ill-shaped than Chesapeake and Centennial—or does it just seem so because we can't automatically fill in the gaps of history ourselves this time? Read full book review >
CHESAPEAKE by James A. Michener
Released: July 24, 1978

"That considerable gift, together with the immense Michener clout, is sure to send millions of readers plunging into what seems like a million blandly readable pages of humdrum history and formula fiction."
Without the frame or the focus that loosely held Centennial together, this massive but arbitrarily fragmented East-Coast community history—a Maryland island, 1583-1978—is almost devoid of traditional novelistic pleasure. Read full book review >
SPORTS IN AMERICA by James A. Michener
Released: June 29, 1976

"The sedentary prose misses the grace, drive, and glamour of athletic meets but Michener, earnest and reform-minded, is sincerely sorry that the honest competition of times past has become a money-grubbing jungle."
Michener's encyclopedic overview of today's sports scene is prompted by his gratitude for the lifelong enjoyment he's derived from competitive games and by the pained recognition that sports have changed—for the worse. Read full book review >
CENTENNIAL by James A. Michener
Released: Sept. 18, 1974

"An amazing amount of history, effortlessly digestible, the source of The Source's great attraction for many of those home historians, since Michener, with his seven league clodhoppers, does cover a lot of ground."
Highly respected scholar-historian Dr. Lewis Vernor is hired by US to re-research a story on Centennial, Colorado. Read full book review >
A MICHENER MISCELLANY, 1950-1970 by James A. Michener
Released: April 18, 1973

"Actually these are 'compositions' — 'Why I Collect Art'; 'My First Article' — and although they have received good marks at Pleasantville, we say D-."
To stomach James Michener you've got to have a brain made of cast-iron kitsch. Read full book review >
KENT STATE by James A. Michener
Released: April 30, 1971

"As a work of interpretive journalism, it is far less scrupulous than I. F. Stone's Killings At Kent State (1970)."
Michener and staff have produced a collage, now appearing in the Reader's Digest, of graphic second-hand accounts, reconstructions of student life and town sentiment, interpretations and misinterpretations of the Kent State events of May 1970. Read full book review >
QUALITY OF LIFE by James A. Michener
Released: Sept. 21, 1970

"Whatever happened, in fact, to editors who had the courage to say 'no' even to best-selling authors?"
Mr. Michener is modest about his ability to turn out this kind of book, which is a series of reflections on "where we are and where we are likely to go" as we approach the American bicentennial. Read full book review >
IBERIA by James A. Michener
Released: April 12, 1968

"In any case, it will travel—and the Book-of-the-Month Club selection is just another assurance of its predictable popularity."
Michener contributes a gigantic guidebook and, via some 500 pages in relatively small print, has seen and reviewed Spain. Read full book review >
THE SOURCE by James A. Michener
Released: May 24, 1965

"June Book-of-the-Month Club selection."
This endless diorama of gods, graves and a scholar begins at the archaeological site of an American, Cullinan, at Makor (in old Hebrew- The Source). Read full book review >
Released: April 18, 1964

"He thinks it is possible to accomplish the necessary changes before 1972 and his book is an urgent appeal to do so."
In August of 1968 Michener was asked to become a Presidential elector in his home state of Pennsylvania by the Democratic Chairman of his County. Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 1961

"This is a new approach- after the event- to the kind of thinking we used as citizens."
How many people are interested now in a meticulous rehash of the late presidential campaign as reported at the county level? Read full book review >
HAWAII by James A. Michener
Released: Nov. 20, 1959

"It's an enormously interesting story of human beings — at many levels of struggle —and rewards the very considerable contribution the reader must bring to its reading."
This is Michener's most ambitious book, but at times it almost falls of its own weight in the immense scope of time and place and people projected. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 1959

"Luxuriously bound, an ideal gift selection."
A prodigious collector of the Japanese woodblock, James Michener, popular author of Sayonara and other books on the Far East, offers the reader a panoramic view of the acomplishments of the ukiyo-e (pictures of the fleeting world) masters over a period of two centuries. Read full book review >
Released: June 15, 1958

"This is a nice book to pore over at leisure."
In 1814, when the great Japanese artist Hokusai ("The Old Man Mad About Drawing" as he called himself) was fifty-four, there appeared the first volume of his miscellaneous sketches and drawings called Manga. Read full book review >
BRIDGE AT ANDAU by James A. Michener
Released: March 1, 1957

"The bitter, courageous days come back to living reality — and their lesson should prepare us for the future."
A superb reporter gives his readers — in human terms- the story of the Hungarian revolution, as he learned through the refugees he helped to safety across the bridge at Andau — a bridge "across whose unsteady planks fled the soul of a nation". Read full book review >
RASCALS IN PARADISE by James A. Michener
Released: June 1, 1956

"Here is a book for very special tastes, but —combining as it does, research and scholarship (A. Grove Day was a professor at the University of Hawaii) with a gift for spinning a yarn and depicting character (Michener, journalist and novelist, needs no introduction)- those tastes will have a far reach."
Ten adventurers whose stage was the Pacific, and who played their parts over four hundred years (1595 to 1953) have been chosen by the authors as examples of men (and one woman) whose choice for a way of escape lay in the Pacific. Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 7, 1954

"With the world's finest collections housed in Boston, Chicago and New York, this should stimulate interest."
This bids fair to be an exciting gift book for a highly specialized market- and an important addition to the art reference shelves of large public libraries. Read full book review >
THE BRIDGES AT TOKO-RI by James A. Michener
Released: July 9, 1953

"Full Life production and big guns from the publisher may make this happy-talk for the bookseller."
The complex operations of a task force in February Korean waters range from sea to land and air as the vulnerable but elusive bridges of Toko-Ri, over which pass Communist supplies for the central and eastern fronts and which are guarded by concentrated mountains, narrow passes and gun emplacements, are the targets for destruction. Read full book review >
SAYONARA by James A. Michener
Released: Jan. 25, 1953

"The Bridges of Toko-Ri, which might be more practical in its understanding and tolerance."
Along the "Butterfly" theme is this story of the incorruptible young officer, Major Lloyd Gruver, West Point '44 and Korean war ace, whose smug belief that he will follow the career laid out by his Father is taken to pieces and put together again by , number one girl of a Takarazuka troup, who gives him the love and tenderness that makes him a whole man. Read full book review >
THE VOICE OF ASIA by James A. Michener
Released: Oct. 29, 1951

"Creative journalism, which goes to the heart of the matter."
While some of this material appeared in the Herald Tribune and in Life, the presentation here is so integrated, so focussed to the central theme, that one feels only a sense of use of the same sources, methods of interviewing, and coverage. Read full book review >
RETURN TO PARADISE by James A. Michener
Released: April 23, 1951

"The quality of the writing will do the rest."
Michener can write and he has a flair for selection of material that fits his pen. Read full book review >
THE FIRES OF SPRING by James A. Michener
Released: Jan. 1, 1949

"A book to assess for a particular market, rather than to accept on the author's earlier achievement."
The Pulitzer Prize winner- with his memorable Tales of the South Pacific — is not an author to be passed over lightly. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 28, 1946

"Don't well as war stuff, in the ordinary sense, but as stories rooted in the experiences of the last few years."
Strictly popular story telling, good stuff for men, this is well handled material on the ways and means by which a war was fought, and the men who fought, not always with guns, and the carefree moments that broke the tension and monotony. Read full book review >