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JAMES MICHENER DIES OF KIDNEY FAILURE AT 90

James A. Michener, who guided millions of readers from the South Pacific to the fringes of space in giant best-selling novels, died Thursday of kidney failure at his home. He was 90.

His writing career, which spanned nearly 50 years, began in his mid-life, with "Tales of the South Pacific," written during his tour of duty with the Navy in World War II. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 1948 and was the basis for "South Pacific," a Broadway musical and later a motion picture.

He wrote historical-geographic blockbusters, living in and absorbing the culture of the places of which he wrote. Among his books: "Hawaii," "The Source" (Israel), "The Covenant" (South Africa), "Iberia" (Spain), "Chesapeake" (U.S. East Coast) and "Centennial" (American West). He also wrote "Space" in 1982, "Poland" in 1983, "Texas" in 1985, "Alaska" in 1988, "Caribbean" in 1989 and "Mexico" in 1992.

Obituary on A9.

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