James A. Michener was born on February 3, 1907 in Doylestown, Pa. He was an adopted child raised in Buck's County, Pennsylvania. He attended Swarthmore College on a sports scholarship, receiving his B.A. summa cum laude in 1929, and an M.A. from Colorado State College of Education in 1937. He taught there for three years and published numerous articles on teaching social studies. He was a visiting professor at Harvard University in 1940 and 1941, and then took a job on the editorial staff of the Macmillan Publishing Company in New York City. Although Michener had been raised in the Quaker faith, he joined the navy in 1942 and was posted in the South Pacific. It was there that Michener began collecting material for his first book, "Tales of the South Pacific" (1947), which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1948. It became the basis for the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific in 1949. Michener is an immensely prolific writer. His novels are popularizations of history; he thoroughly immerses the reader in the subject through details of history, geography, geology, archeology, anthropology, and many other disciplines. He has covered enormous spans of time and place, from ancient Israel to outer space. Although his characters may at times lack deep development, the situations into which they are placed makes such development seem almost unimportant. Michener's readers have the pleasure of learning about countless subjects as they read competent, enjoyable novels that invite them into exotic places and times. Critic A. Grove Day notes that, "As a scholarly novelist, Michener has won wide popularity without stooping to cheap melodrama. He may best be remembered for his family saga in which men and women intermingle in far-off places."