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Top 150 James A. Michener Quotes (2024 Update)
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James A. Michener Quote: “It was the silent time before dawn, along the shores of what had been one of the most beautiful lakes in southern Africa.”
James A. Michener Quote: “I have never thought of myself as a good writer. Anyone who wants reassurance of that should read one of my first drafts. But I’m one of the world’s great rewriters.”
James A. Michener Quote: “The South Pacific is memorable because when you are in the islands you simply cannot ignore nature. You cannot avoid looking up at the stars, large as apples on a new tree. You cannot deafen your ear to the thunder of the surf. The bright sands, the screaming birds, and the wild winds are always with you.”
James A. Michener Quote: “It is difficult to be king when the gods are changing.”
James A. Michener Quote: “You don’t fight to protect warships or old men. Like the book says, you fight to save your civilization. And so often it seems that civilization is composed mainly of the things women and children want.”
James A. Michener Quote: “I think young people ought to seek the experience that is going to knock them off center.”
James A. Michener Quote: “The rules seem to be these: If you have written a successful novel, everyone invites you to write short stories. If you have written some good short stories, everyone wants you to write a novel. But nobody wants anything until you have already proved yourself by being published somewhere else.”
James A. Michener Quote: “Religious hatreds ought not to be propagated at all, but certainly not on a tax-exempt basis.”
James A. Michener Quote: “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.”
James A. Michener Quote: “From too much love of living, From hope and fear set free, We thank with brief thanksgiving Whatever gods may be That no life lives forever; That dead men rise up never; That even the weariest river Winds somewhere safe to sea.”
James A. Michener Quote: “He wondered how men could live till they were seventy if they endured such passions as he had known that fifteenth summer, and although he knew many things... he did not even guess that men are able to live because slowly, one by one, they snuff out the fires of spring until only embers burn in white dignity, in loneliness, and often in cold despair.”
James A. Michener Quote: “You write that first draft really to see how it’s going to come out.”
James A. Michener Quote: “A writer can make a fortune in America, but he can’t make a living.”
James A. Michener Quote: “Creative geniuses are a slap-happy lot. Treat Them with respect.”
James A. Michener Quote: “Public libraries have been a mainstay of my life. They represent an individual’s right to acquire knowledge; they are the sinews that bind civilized societies the world over. Without libraries, I would be a pauper, intellectually and spiritually.”
James A. Michener Quote: “Afghanistan, one of the most inconspicuous nations on earth. In 1946 it was just emerging from the bronze age, a land incredibly old, incredibly tied to an ancient past. At the embassy we used to say, “Kabul today shows what Palestine was like at the time of Jesus.”
James A. Michener Quote: “The Rockies are therefore very young and should never be thought of as ancient. They are still in the process of building and eroding, and no one today can calculate what they will look like ten million years from now. They have the extravagant beauty of youth, the allure of adolescence, and they are mountains to be loved.”
James A. Michener Quote: “I can no longer take war or promotion or big income or a large house seriously. I reject empire and Vietnam and placing a man on the moon. I deny time payments and looking like the girl next door and church weddings and a great deal more. If you want to blame such rejection on grass, you can do so. I charge it to awakening.”
James A. Michener Quote: “Human affairs are not so happily arranged that the best things please the most men. It is the proof of a bad cause when it is applauded by the mob.”
James A. Michener Quote: “The arrogance of the artist is a very profound thing, and it fortifies you.”
James A. Michener Quote: “Russia, France, Germany and China. They revere their writers. America is still a frontier country that almost shudders at the idea of creative expression.”
James A. Michener Quote: “There is only one sensible way to think of the Pacific Ocean today. It is the highway between Asia and America, and whether we with it or not, from now on there will be immense traffic along that highway.”
James A. Michener Quote: “The chief character in this narrative is the Caribbean Sea, one of the world’s most alluring bodies of water, a rare gem among the oceans, defined by the islands that form a chain of lovely jewels to the north and east.”
James A. Michener Quote: “Smiling amiably, the San Angelo man said: “If you do have to explain it, why not use the old joke? Man asked a rancher in the Fort Stockton area: ‘Caleb, your six boys are all good Democrats, I hope?’ and Caleb said: ‘Yep, all but Elmer. He learned to read.”
James A. Michener Quote: “The extreme geniality of San Francisco’s economic, intellectual and political climate makes it the most varied and challenging city in the United States.”
James A. Michener Quote: “I was a Navy officer writing about Navy problems and I simply stole this lovely Army nurse and popped her into a Navy uniform, where she has done very well for herself.”
James A. Michener Quote: “No idea is ever dead until those who believe in it say it’s dead.”
James A. Michener Quote: “About a billion years ago, long before the continents had separated to define the ancient oceans, or their own outlines had been determined, a small protuberance jutted out from the northwest corner of what would later become North America.”
James A. Michener Quote: “I was surprised when shortly after New Year’s Day of 1983, the Governor of Texas summoned me to his office, because I hadn’t been aware that he knew I was in town.”
James A. Michener Quote: “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.”
James A. Michener Quote: “Simple. Judaism had its day, and if the Jews had been smart, when Christianity came along they’d have joined up. Christianity has had its day, and if you were intelligent you’d both join the newest religion. Islam!” He bowed low and said, “Soon all Africa will be Islamic. And all Black America. I see India giving up Hinduism while Burma and Thailand surrender Buddhism. Gentlemen, I represent the religion of the future. I offer you salvation.”
James A. Michener Quote: “They were a group of two dozen nurses completely surrounded by 100,000 unattached American men.”
James A. Michener Quote: “Why is it, Reverend Hale, that we must always laugh at our book, but always revere yours?”
James A. Michener Quote: “John Whipple did not allow his anger at such treatment to obscure his judgment. In years of trading around the Pacific he had often met obstinate men and the cruel situations which they produce, and he had learned that in such confrontations his only chance of winning lay in doing exactly what in conscience ought to be done. It was by reliance upon this conviction that he had quietly made his way in such disparate jungles as Valparaiso, Batavia, Singapore and Honolulu.”
James A. Michener Quote: “During my lifetime I have met dozens of writers and photographers in dozens of different countries. But I have encountered no one who could both write and photograph with the artistry of Robert Vavra.”
James A. Michener Quote: “If a young aspirant had a modicum of skill and a busy typewriter she or he would sooner or later get a foothold in one of the magazines and a leaping start on the ladder upward.”
James A. Michener Quote: “In a small Polish farm community, during the fall planting season of 1981, events occurred which electrified the world, sending reverberations of magnitude to capitals as diverse as Washington, Peking and especially Moscow.”
James A. Michener Quote: “I never wrote anything that was published until I was forty.”
James A. Michener Quote: “The movement of animals across the bridge was by no means always in one direction, for although it is true that the more spectacular beasts – mastodon, saber-tooth, rhinoceros – came out of Asia to enrich the new world, other animals like the camel originated in America and carried their wonderful capacities into Asia.”
James A. Michener Quote: “Jan had never seen a really sumptuous establishment like Lancut, but he had worked often at Castle Gorka and could see the vast difference between how a count lived, with his fifty horses and forty servants, and how his peasants lived, with meat once a year, a new suit of clothes once every ten years, little medicine and less education.”
James A. Michener Quote: “From the time that money began to be regarded with honor, the real value of things was forgotten.”
James A. Michener Quote: “Therefore, men of Polynesia and Boston and China and Mount Fuji and the barrios of the Philippines, do not come to these islands empty-handed, or craven in spirit, or afraid to starve. There is no food here. In these islands there is no certainty. Bring your own food, your own gods, your own flowers and fruits and concepts. For if you come without resources to these islands you will perish... On these harsh terms the islands waited.”
James A. Michener Quote: “I was brought up in the great tradition of the late nineteenth century: that a writer never complains, never explains and never disdains.”
James A. Michener Quote: “If I were a young man, I would not hesitate at writing anything to get into print, except pornography.”
James A. Michener Quote: “We all hurt other people, especially those we love... civilized people were the ones who had learned to hurt according to rules.”
James A. Michener Quote: “Maybe books are best, because you don’t have to have money to read... A man can travel all over the world and come back the same kind of fool he was when he started. You can’t do that with books.”
James A. Michener Quote: “You have to be eligible for luck to strike, and I think that’s a matter of education and preparation, and character and all the other solid attributes that sometimes people laugh at.”
James A. Michener Quote: “Contrary to what people think, I slave over my books.”
James A. Michener Quote: “The decent thing to do is to get rid of some of this money.”
James A. Michener Quote: “Why were these people seeking a new home coming to Israel and not to America? Where had the American dream faltered? And he saw that Israel was right; it was taking people – any people – as America had once done; so that in fifty years the bright new ideas of the world would come probably from Israel and no longer from a tired America.”
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