Tales of the South Pacific by James A. Michener
Tales of the South Pacific is a Pulitzer Prize winning collection of sequentially related short stories about World War II, written by James A. Michener in 1946. The stories were based on observations and anecdotes he collected while stationed as a lieutenant commander in the US Navy on the island of Espiritu Santo in the New Hebrides Islands (now known as Vanuatu). The skipper of PT-105 met Michener while stationed at the PT boat base on Tulagi in the Solomon Islands. The stories take place in and surrounding the Coral Sea and the Solomons. Michener gives a first-person voice to several as an unnamed "Commander" performing duties similar to those he performed himself. The stories are interconnected by recurring characters and several loose plot lines (in particular, preparations and execution of a fictitious amphibious invasion code-named "Alligator") but focus on interactions between Americans and a variety of colonial, immigrant and indigenous characters. The chronology of the stories takes place from the building of an airfield on Norfolk Island before the Battle of the Coral Sea in 1942 to the early 1944 invasion of the fictional island. Although primarily about the U.S. Navy, most of the action is shore-based, and none concerns ships larger than an LCI.