Posted by: Kate | October 14, 2010

Author Review

This summer I read several books by the same author, so I thought that really this was more appropriately deemed an author review. The author in question is James Michener. I am a big fan of his work, and this summer I read both Hawaii and Alaska. Now let me say, I love historical fiction generally as is. I think it is a great genre. Michener takes it to a whole different level, though, with his work. His historical novels cover such an amazing range of time and history that it leaves me breathless. But not only is his history research incredible, he is adept at creating characters that the reader connects to and wants to read about. His skill at weaving his skill as the novelist with the historian in him is what appeals to me the most about his work.

These two books are classic Michener, covering the areas in question from the beginning of land formation through to his current era (about the 60s for both of them). I appreciated that in the beginning of Alaska a chapter guide of fact versus fiction was provided for the major characters, towns and events presented in the book, as it helped me while I was reading. I found both books extremely interesting and an engrossing read.

I have recently read another Michener book, Caravans, which he wrote about Afghanistan. A good bit of history about a country that is baffling to many people, this book is more of an adventure at a specific point in time than the sweeping saga of some of his other books. The story still provides the detail Michener is known for, with some really good insight that had me thinking if only they knew then what we know now….

Michener himself was an intriguing person, and certainly was a prolific and incredibly hard-working writer. If you have not read any of his work, I highly recommend a look.



  1. James Michener was a favourite of my dear father. He lent, rather, gave me the 2 books you mention, Hawaii and Alaska. In our ‘big move’, it got lost along the way. My father raved about James Michener’s writing & historical skills. I do hope to read him one of these days, just as soon as I’m finished all of Charles Dickens works.

    The book, Caravans, sound v v interesting to me right now. Thx for the review, it’s good to know what others like to read :)

  2. I started reading Michener in high school and loved his books right from the start. My favourite so far has been Chesapeake. Enjoyed Texas too.I found The Source a long read but good nonetheless.

  3. Thanks for reminding me about Michener! I read several of his books years ago, including Hawaii. I will have to see which ones I haven’t yet read and check them out of the library.

  4. Amazingly enough, I have not read any Michener although J is a huge fan and has read most of his novels. I do know which will be my first though…The Source. And now that you reminded me, maybe I’ll move it on over to the nightstand.

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