Michener’s Editor Deserves Credit, Too
Lieutenant Commander David K. Sturges, U.S. Navy Reserve (Retired)
David Sears’ vivid feature in the August issue on the creation of the novel and film The Bridges at Toko-Ri (“The Navy’s Aerial Oscar,” pp. 52–57) mentions an apparent inclination of author James A. Michener “to use composites—factual elements borrowed, mixed, and embellished to construct a compelling story arc.”
In perspective fact, Michener was well known for this creative but troubling proclivity, which was a cause of consternation during the production of all his short and bigger novels. Nobody was more aware of this than his longtime and leading editor at Random House, Albert R. Erskine Jr., who firmly challenged and coped with it.