|Tales of the South Pacific (1947) [Collection]|
by James A. Michener
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"Enter the exotic world of the South Pacific," says the publisher's blurb, "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." The publisher is romanticizing in that last sentence: nobody in the book is playing at war. When they play they are playing for their lives, not because they don't take war seriously. The seriousness of the war is everpresent, and makes human relations particularly poignant, memorable, and troublesome—and often delightful. Apparently based on real-life occurrences, the stories are a fascinating travelogue of the peoples, wildlife and scenic beauty of the war-torn South Seas.
- The South Pacific [Author's introduction]
- Coral Sea : New Zealanders grimly prepare to die in a futile defense of their homes and families as the unstoppable Japanese fleet steams into the Coral Sea.
- Mutiny : Ancient Anna Christian, great-granddaughter of the Bounty mutineer, sets herself against the bulldozing of the magnificent Norfolk Island pines necessary to build a crucial airstrip.
- An Officer and a Gentleman : Bill Harbison had almost resigned himself to passing the war on isolated Efate without seeing action. Then the nurses came.
- The Cave : Every American in the Solomons owed a debt to the Remittance Man for his precise predictions of Japanese sea and air movements. But how long could the dapper Englishman escape detection?
- The Milk Run : ...one lousy lucky shot (said Bus Adams) and I was down, in the drink without a plane, drifting in the middle of all those little islands, with the New Zealand wild men zooming around above dive-bombing every Jap who popped his head up to take a pot shot at me...
- Alligator : Taking Kuralei was an impossible dream. The purpose of project Alligator was to make it possible.
- Our Heroine : Nurse Nellie Forbush of Otolousa, Arkansas falls in love with the jungle, and with tall, deep-thinking Emile De Becque, who tends it. But how can she marry him after she finds out he had children by—oh, Mama—a nigger!
- Dry Rot : In his twenty-seven months on the atoll, Joe had suffered rashes, sores, dry-rot fungus, mosquitoes, boredom, claustrophobia and nightmares without going rock-jolly. But the worst of sufferings was love.
- Fo' Dolla' : When Bloody Mary met Lt. Joe Cable, late of Princeton, the old Tonkinese woman knew this man was no soandso G.I.- here was a man. Bloody Mary had met her match. But soon, on Bali-ha'i, Joe Cable would meet his.
- Passion : Helping censor love letters, Dr. Paul Benoway wonders, not for the first time, if he is lacking in passion.
- A Boar's Tooth : Earringed, tattooed and braceleted, Luther Billis was a figure out of Treasure Island. But it was the boar's tusk that interested Tony Fry. How did a sacred pig's tooth grow in a circle? Time and suffering...
- Wine for the Mess at Segi : A week before Christmas, Tony Fry's infallible source dried up! There was nothing to do but have Bus Adams gas up the Bouncing Belch for a liquor run among the islands. It was quite a run!
- The Airstrip at Konora : Commander Hoag and his Seabees had promised a bomber runway on Konora in sixteen days. Jap occupation seemed like just a minor detail...at first.
- Those Who Fraternize : Lt. Colonel Haricot didn't see why the Navy's perfectly sensible rules against fraternization shouldn't be enforced. But he was no match for the De Becque sisters...
- The Strike : Bus Adams got on Capt. Kelley's bad side the minute he flew into the Depot. He needed to get on his worse side before the big strike on Kuralei, or he might never fly out again.
- Frisco : The bombing of Kuralei was the greatest thing the men had seen since their last liberty in San Francisco. Frisco! What a great town!
- The Landing on Kuralei : The greatest military genius at Kuralei was an honors graduate from Cal Tech. Too bad Lt. Col. Kenjuro Hyaichi wasn't on our side.
- A Cemetery at Hoga Point : "Yes! Yes!" said the Preacher. "All those jokes about ghos's and cullud men. But what yo-all doan see is dat dey ain't no ghos's up here! Up here dey is only heroes."
-Iblist reader synopses
Original title: Tales of the South Pacific
Quotes: 2 (show them)
Genre: Fiction→ Historical→ World War II
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