Pulitzer Prize–winning author James A. Michener brings Hawaii’s epic history vividly to life in a classic saga that has captivated readers since its initial publication in 1959. As the volcanic Hawaiian Islands sprout from the ocean floor, the land remains untouched for centuries—until, little more than a thousand years ago, Polynesian seafarers make the perilous journey across the Pacific, flourishing in this tropical paradise according to their ancient traditions. Then, in the early nineteenth century, American missionaries arrive, bringing with them a new creed and a new way of life. Based on exhaustive research and told in Michener’s immersive prose, Hawaii is the story of disparate peoples struggling to keep their identity, live in harmony, and, ultimately, join together.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Such an excellent book! I listened to it via audiobook, narrated by Larry McKeever and Fred Sanders which I’d highly recommend.
It’s a comprehensive historical account about the formation of Hawaii, as in the very creation of the islands from volcanic activity to the development of language, societal norms, statehood, and culture. It had a well-rounded insight into the social interaction and adaptation of the times.
It really appealed to my curiosity, what actually is native to the islands? From foliage, poi, and pineapples, the uklele, hula skirts and hula dancing, is anything attributed to be native to Hawaii that wasn’t brought over by boat from thousands of miles away? How did all of these things originate and become Hawaii as we know it today? What exactly can Hawaii call their own?
The writing in particular was lovely, it read like an adventure and answered the most intriguing questions. It was incredibly blunt, there was absolutely no holding back on this one whether in celebrations or conflict, perception or reality.