Return to Paradise

Riding the wave of Pacific fantasy

By William Wetherall

First posted 1 September 2006
Last updated 1 September 2006

1952 Bantam paperback
1962 Bantam paperback
1974 Fawcett Crest paperback
1981 Corgi paperback

James A. Michener
Return to Paradise


New York: Random House, 1951
437 pages, hardcover


New York: Bantam Books, April 1952
499 pages, paperback (Bantam Giant A999)

Cover art by Ben Stahl

Greenwich: Fawcett Crest, April 1952
416 pages, paperback

London: Corgi Books, 1970
371 pages, paperback


James A. Michener and A. Grove Day
Rascals in Paradise

New York: Fawcett Crest, 1974
384 pages, paperback

Return to Paradise

1950 saw the publication of Return to Paradise, a collection of short fiction and essays about the Pacific.

The blurb on the back of the second Bantam paperback, published after Hawaii (1959), plays up Michener's knowledge of the Pacfic.

JAMES A MICHENER, author of the mighty HAWAII, knows the Pacific as no other writer ever has known it. In Sayonara, The Bridges at Toko-Ri, Tales of the South Pacific, he has captured mystery, enchantment and savagery, the moods of men and women of many races, in peace, in war, in love.

RETURN TO PARADISE is filled with Michener's magic, stories of lonely wanderers, missionaries and tribal chieftains, beautiful, willing Tahitian girls, American Marines and the ardent women of New Zealand.

The back of the Fawcett Crest edition plays up the erotic image that Polynesian women are "willing".

She tugged at her long black hair which fell to her waist. . . . She was not a girl of extraordinary beauty, but she was handsomely proportioned and majestically straight in the Polynesian fashion. BUt her most memorable gift was a gamin smile and flashing black eyes that brimmed with an inner merriment. . . . The men could not keep their eyes off her for it was deliciously apparent that she wore nothing beneath her cotton skirt.

To be continued.