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Tales of the South Pacific by James A.…

Tales of the South Pacific (1947)

by James A. Michener

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Fun & well done for what it is - difficult at times to get through the period racism and sexism. Don't expect the musical, but well done from the backwaters of every war. ( )
1 vote kcshankd | May 30, 2018 |
This is a book I have heard about for years and finally spurred myself to read - it did not disappoint. The characters and settings from the stage play and the movie are here but they are far from being central to the stories. The book is like a cross between Hemingway and Cain - a product of its time that surpasses the constraints of time. "The Landing on Kuralei" reads like the first twenty minutes of "Saving Private Ryan" looks, brutal and honest. "Coral Sea" captures the day to day insulation of sailors from the wider scope of war, and "The Strike" takes the same type of random sailors and shows them in the final moments when boredom breaks on the shore of imminent action.

If you expect happy dancing natives, easily resolved love stories and a feel-good lecture on the evils of racism, be forewarned that all of those spring from the mind of Rogers and Hammerstein. Michener's characters are less likable, but ultimately more real. ( )
1 vote bensdad00 | Jan 10, 2017 |
I couldn't decide if this book was a collection of short stories that fit in really well with each other, or a complete novel. Either way, it was a great book. Tales of the South Pacific is about the military men stationed in the South Pacific during World War II. All the stories are told from the point of view of one naval officer and discuss how individual men cope with the situation they're in. In the very first section, our narrator tells us how beautiful the islands are and how fascinating the way of life is there. The whole book turns into a celebration of the islands and of humanity in general.

As I said, I really enjoyed this book. There is humor, love, tragedy, courage, friendship, and anything else you could want in it. This was my first Michener, but I'll definitely be reading more of him. ( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
Tales of the South Pacific by James Michener is a Pulitzer winning collection of stories that are an account of World War II in the Pacific and are based loosely on the author’s own wartime experiences. The stories, narrated from a single perspective, show both the racial and social strictures that were in effect in the 1940’s. Some of the stories are funny and point out our human frailties while others weave a spell binding story of struggle and tragedy. This isn’t the feel-good musical that was developed from the book, although the characters from that musical do appear in a few of the stories. Instead these stores tell of life and death in a tropical paradise.

The author paints a vivid picture of both the days of boredom and the endless waiting that soldiers have to endure, along with the work, planning and logistics that went into keeping the American armed forces moving forward through the islands. I found this book to be an absorbing commentary on the American war effort in the Pacific Theatre.

Along with the striking descriptions of the beauty of these coral islands with their white beaches and green palm trees, the author provides the reader with interesting, unique characters. Some you will love, some you will hate, some are a product of their time while others are well ahead of their time. Along with American military personnel the author introduces a number of natives and gives the reader a glimpse of their lifestyle and what they thought of the Japanese, the Americans, and the war. All the characters are unforgettable and bring the reader to a greater understanding of the American psyche during the 1940’s, and in particular the can-do style of Americans serving far away from home. ( )
1 vote DeltaQueen50 | Nov 27, 2014 |
556.Tales of the South Pacific by James A. Michener (read 30 Sep 1958) (Pulitzer fiction prize for 1948) This won the Pulitzer prize for fiction for 1948, the first time I think that a book which was not a novel won that prize. I did not think the book was great reading. ( )
  Schmerguls | Jul 29, 2013 |
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I wish I could tell you about the South Pacific.
The men who would make up the difference between the expected dead and the actual dead would never know that they were the lucky ones. But all the world would be richer for their having lived.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
From the exotic world of the South Pacific with its endless ocean, the tiny specks of coral with its endless ocean, the tiny specks of coral we call islands, the coconut palms, the waves breaking into spray against he reefs, the full moon rising behind the volcanoes, come these famous tales of love, life and war in the South Pacific.
Here are stories of men and women caught up in the drama of a big war. It is the story of the young Marine who falls madly in love with a beautiful Tonkinese girl. It is the story of Nurse Nellie and her french planter, Emile de Becque. But mostly it is the story of the soldiers, sailors, and nurses playing at war and waiting for love in a tropic paradise.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0449206521, Mass Market Paperback)

"Truly one of the most remarkable books to come out of the war. Mr. Michener is a born story-teller."
Winner of the 1948 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
Enter the exotic world of the South Pacific, meet the men and women caught up in the drama of a big war. The young Marine who falls madly in love with a beautiful Tonkinese girl. Nurse Nellie and her French planter, Emile De Becque. The soldiers, sailors, and nurses playing at war and waiting for love in a tropic paradise.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:57 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Explores the people and beauty of the Pacific's Coral Islands as seen though the eyes of a young naval lieutenent.

» see all 3 descriptions

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