James Norman Hall (22 April, 1887 – 5 July, 1951) was an American author known for writing historical novels. Mr. Hall’s best-known novel is Mutiny on the Bounty.
Fun Facts about James Norman Hall:
- James Norman Hall was born in Colfax, Iowa. He attended local schools, and graduated from Grinnell College in 1910.
- After college, Mr. Hall worked in Boston as a social worker, trying to become a writer and working on his master’s degree.
- When World War I broke out, Mr. Hall was vacationing in the United Kingdom. He joined the Royal Fusiliers as a machine gunner and fought in the Battle of Loos. When it was discovered that he was American, instead of Canadian (which is how he got into the British Army), Mr. Hall was promptly discharged and sent back to the United States.
His experiences were recounted in Kitchener’s Mob, Mr. Hall’s first novel published in 1916. The book sold well, and Mr. Hall went on a speaking tour to promote it.
- In 1916 Atlantic Monthly magazine hired Mr. Hall to return to Europe for a series of stories about American volunteers.
Hall enlisted in the French Air service, joining the men he wrote about who were serving in French squadrons.
- The United States joined the war in 1917, Mr. Hall was made a captain in the Army Air Service. He was shot down and spent the rest of the war as a German POW.
This makes him one of the few, if not the only person to fly for three countries in the same war.
For his service, Mr. Hall was awarded French the Légion d’Honneur and the American Distinguished Service Cross.
- When the war ended, James Norman Hall spent most of the rest of his life in Tahiti. Together with another pilot, he met at the Army Air Service, Charles Nordhoff, he wrote Mutiny on the Bounty.
- In 1925 Mr. Hall married Sarah Winchester. The couple had two children Nancy Hall-Rutgers, and three times Oscar winner cinematographer Conrad Hall (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid American Beauty , and Road to Perdition).
- The author died in Tahiti in 1951, and is buried in the same area he lived with his wife.
- Hall’s early how in Colfax is now considered a historical residence and was listed in 1984 on the National Register of Historic Places.
- On his grave, there’s a verse he wrote at age 11:
“Look to the Northward stranger
Just over the hillside there
Have you ever in your travels seen
A land more passing fair?”
Zohar — Man of la Book
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