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World Is My Home: A Memoir

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  414 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
This work from America's foremost historical novelist reveals Michener's experiences and reflections on his life as a writer and on his work. With the same detail of his novels, Michener recalls his memories of encounters with some of his era's most famous and influential figures, including Hemingway and Capote.
Hardcover, 519 pages
Published November 26th 1991 by Random House (first published 1991)
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Apr 29, 2016 Quirkyreader rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a memoir that should be read by everyone who reads and writes. Michener describes his life and his influences on his writing.

Michener describes his world travels and the ideas he drew from them. I found his time in the South Seas to be most fascinating. Albeit that was the area he focused on the most, he also touched upon many of the other places he traveled to for his writing research.

One of the best things about this memoir was some of the books he read. It lead me to some new stories
I'm on page 199 and so far I have to ask this question: REALLY? Can this author really have accomplished so much in his life? I feel like a couch potato compared to him and I don't even watch t.v.!!


A bit of a Renaissance Man, James Michener was an aficionado of opera and classical music, as well as art, collecting enough prints to form a small art museum. In his youth, he read classical literature from many lands. He was, of course, a writer of non-fiction as well as fiction. And a trav
Rex Fuller
Jun 27, 2014 Rex Fuller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With undiminished affection for Michener and his work, I admit I only skimmed the last parts of this one–the constant digressions got to me a bit. But at some point it will worm its way back for true completion.

Let’s remember, Michener originally had no birth certificate. No one could tell him when, where, or to whom he was born. As they say, not an auspicious start. He grew up with a number of other abandoned babies in the home of Mabel Michener, whose husband died young, and the broader, real
Aug 15, 2010 Robin rated it it was amazing
Throughout this charming autobiography, James A. Michener portrays himself as an average man with average talent and experience. He wrote nothing non-academic until after age 40. He says he only became successful by immersing himself in his subject matter and by keeping a strictly disciplined writing schedule. As one reads the biography though, it’s obvious that his character and lifestyle are far from average. He calls himself a storyteller rather than an author. He wrote this book at age 84, a ...more
Haggis Chihuahua
My Dawg, but I'm glad I finally finished reading this one--five hundred pages, all of them pretentious, in which he explains over and over and over again why he's not pretentious. GAH!

Michener has long been one of my favorite authors, but if the man himself was anything like he presented in this memoir, he had to be the most annoying person in whatever room he walked into, and in whatever city he chose to live.

I gave this two stars only because he was a veteran of WWII and I have much respect f
May 19, 2008 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the very best books about one of the very best authors of all times. I believe Michener's passing left a huge void in the literary world, which will take some time to fill.

This is a must for anyone who every enjoyed his books.
Valerie Bell
This book was an interesting autobiographical insight into Michener's early life and the geography and cultures that formed his writing. Probably only interesting if you are a Michener fan. I am.
Jul 19, 2015 Marty rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a big book – 512 pages. It is not chronological, but thematic. It is more philosophical than biographical. I think it is Michener finally saying things he wants to say and telling what he wants people to hear. I enjoy Michener, but could not read this book from start to finish. It was just too much. I read it in sections for over a year. When finished I do not have a feeling that I know a lot about Michener’s life—but I do know a lot about what he thought and felt. I’m glad I read it, bu ...more
Sep 09, 2015 Cynthia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
His memoir was too long! In the edition I read, it ran 512 pages, there were so few times that I found myself quickly turning pages to read what was next. If he had written his novels in this fashion I would never have read more than one. I rate him as one of my favorite writers (he prefers this designation than "author"), but I just wish I had never read this book. I also found it frustrating that he never mentions how he came to live with the woman whom he would later think of as his mother. H ...more
Eileen Division
Jul 26, 2013 Eileen Division rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wordy, but that's Michener. He spins a good yarn, even about his own life.
Paul Parsons
Fascinating, though sometimes rambling, autobiography of James A Michener, arguably one of our greatest 20th century authors and certainly one of my top five. Abandoned by his biologic parents whom he never knew, he was raised in poverty by a woman whose name he adopted. He had no birth certificate. Certainly his description of writing is worth reading, but more fascinating is his accounting of his life. Raised in a Republican environment, he quickly became a flaming liberal. "In general, govern ...more
Jun 04, 2015 Marleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
James Michener led a remarkable life. His autobiography gave only a passing reference to his three marriages and his adoption of two Asian children who were returned to the adoption agency with the failure if his second marriage. He was an industrious and bright child who was adopted by a widowed Quaker woman who may have been his birth mother. Michener was not interested in finding out about his background. If he felt if things were not possible, he had the ability to put it out of his mind. He ...more
Becky Morlok
Feb 26, 2015 Becky Morlok rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every winter I choose a biography or autobiography to read. The World is My Home was selected this year because it was used in a great sermon I heard in December.

There aren't words to describe how great Michener's life was or how great his legacy is. Suffice it to say that before I was through the first section I had already gifted this book to my 91-year old father-in-law, a contemporary of Michener's who also grew up in Buck's County, PA, served in the Navy and traveled the world. My copy of
Aug 30, 2014 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is soooo amazing. You'll never come across someone as interesting as Mitchner and all the things he's done. Was so interesting, I read it pretty quick despite the length. Told my Mom about it and by the next week she had read it through and thought the same. One of my top 5 of all time I think.
Lynne S
May 14, 2016 Lynne S rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Michener led a fascinating life of travel and adventure which is reflected in his memoir.
Jan 18, 2016 Marilyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Michener being one of my favorite authors for years, I thoroughly enjoyed his autobiography.
Al Bahr
Jul 02, 2014 Al Bahr rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved the man's life and work,but it sure made me feel inadequate.
Veronica Harris
Jan 23, 2016 Veronica Harris rated it it was amazing
Jan 19, 2015 Gregor rated it it was ok
I don't like biographies and this book was more biography than I hoped for. Contained lots of stuff I was not interested in, therefore the rather low rating.
But it did show him as the kind of guy I thought him to be from reading some of his books, which is a guy I like and can identify with.
It did make me laugh really hard in one part where he started talking about his fortune telling career and it also made me want to read another of his real books.
Jim Townsend
Nov 01, 2015 Jim Townsend rated it really liked it
Shelves: jim-s-prg-2015
It was a good book by a very interesting man. Michener's book isn't a straight autobiography or a straight memoir; it is a little of both. The reader will get his account of his early life and careers in the military and as an essentially freelance writer, his writing approach and philosophy of life, with several anecdotes both funny and sad. Throughout, he cites many books that were important to him. This is a good read.
Dec 21, 2014 Liesl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish I could have met him.

I often thought of my grandfather as I read this. The two men were born in the same era, had interesting lives, and offered great love to people- those they knew and humanity at large. Coincidentally, today is my grandfather's birthday.

I also learned a lot about being a writer. James A Michener is my newest role model.
Jul 12, 2011 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
James Michener is an interesting writer, and reading his autobiography makes me want to read his novels. He did not start writing until he was 40 and it seems he spent the rest of his life making up time! I like to read people's thoughts on their favorite music, and books so I did enjoy that part of his book a lot. He was a devout Democrat and anti-Communist, which seems odd at this time in history.
Mark Luongo
A bit plodding at times but the interesting story of one of my favorite authors. I would recommend it to would-be writers. And I would recommend a visit to the Michener Museum in Doylestown, PA. It's an art museum but has a section devoted to the author.
Aug 01, 2010 Bookguide rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this several years ago, and I remember that I was amazed at James Michener's life story. The only problem was, so was he! In other words, I found him rather too self-congratulatory, but it was a good read nevertheless.
Aug 28, 2013 Alfred rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love most everything this man wrote, this memoir most of all. The only bad thing about it was it revealed how totally insignificant my truly insignificant life has really been.
Aug 25, 2008 Kris rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A more apt title would be "The World is my Bedroom, and other sexual tales from a mouldering, dirty, creepy storyteller" ...Need I say more? Didn't even try to finish it!
May 07, 2009 James rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiographical
All of us want to write our memoirs and where we've been in our life. Michener did that here and it's about as exciting as your or my version would be. Stay with his epics!
Sep 13, 2008 Kitty rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just good to learn more about the man who has written such complete historinal novels about so many places.
Aug 22, 2012 Bobbi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Michener is one of my favorite authors. Reading this story of his life and his many travels was a pleasure.
Mar 22, 2008 Maureen rated it it was amazing
(I actually have this one in hardcover.) Fascinating! What an incredible life this man lead . . .
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James Albert Michener is best known for his sweeping multi-generation historical fiction sagas, usually focusing on and titled after a particular geographical region. His first novel, Tales of the South Pacific , which inspired the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific, won the 1948 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Toward the end of his life, he created the Journey Prize, awarded annually for t
More about James A. Michener...

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“At times, working in big cities far from nature, I have been sick with nesomania, and I think the reason is this: On the islands one has both the time and the inclination to communicate with the stars and the trees and the waves drifting ashore, one lives more intensely.” 3 likes
“What did I learn in my travels? In whatever foreign country I visited I met dreamers who longed to reach America and its promise of an enriched life so I knew we had a country rich in opportunity, but I also met those brilliant Jews already in America who had been denied that promise.” 1 likes
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