File Size: 9062 KB
Print Length: 319 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (September 1, 2015)
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
I was never sure if Microsoft. Moore was seeking to impress with all the reading and highlighting she or someone had done or was just trying to provide her brief, three hundred page (261 of text), book some heft. The lady failed. Many pages scarcely have some of her written words, a sentence here or there then a long passage from another work: a pattern which would be repeated interminably throughout the book.
The lady deals with the amazing history of Hawaiian labor migrants and cultural effects in a page or two and really not at all and completely ignores the annexation story with an “oh, that’s for another book” dismissal. Hopefully a guide she actually is not planning on writing. It like the last 5 decades leading up annexation and beyond do not occur.
For my money the best guide is Gavan Daws Shoal of Time or arriving a distant second Attentive Paradise: A History of Hawaii James L. Haley, even Sarah Vowel’s Unfamiliar Fishes is at least amusing in the descriptions of the missionary impact on the native Hawaiians. Last but not least, read Michener’s Hawaii as this book, even though fictional will be a much better foundation for Hawaiian pre-history and beyond than everything to be found in Paradise., This is a difficult book to describe. It is an utterly absorbing story, a type of history advised through the lives of participants--even the grimly proper missionaries come through as living, breathing human beings. This is not your book, if you are searching for nature. modern Hawai'i. a travelog or traveler's guide, or modern history. It stops at the point of American annexation of the islands. That said, Moore tells an absorbing story, mostly from Captain Cook's " discovery" of the islands to the annexation, much of it advised in the form of interaction between the United states missionaries and the dynasty of Kamehameha and his descendants. I'd suggest sample a few pages before you buy. My guess is that many readers will like the book but that some will wonder why it was written.
You will find a great deal of Hawai'ian history that's background but not described in depth. This particular background includes things like the arrival of whaling delivers (largely American), the white (and also from Asia) beachcombers, the sandalwood industry, and details of the conquest of almost all of the islands by Kamehameha. The overall story is not ethnographic, no academic analysis, not sociology nor a comprehensive account of missionary activity. It's first of all a narrative about people. The Hawai'ians descended from migrants encountering a new land, who over centuries formed an elaborate culture. The missionaries encountered a new land and new culture and attempted to change it for what they saw as better. In the backdrop would be the arrivals of whaling ships, of commerce. Presently there have been many arrivals in the islands, of course , including Chinese and Western and others brought in to work the career fields.
The key story remains the extended Kamehameha family and native interaction with missionary ideas. There's a good deal about Hawai'ian common myths, traditions and particularly the cultural trait called " kapu. " Moore identifies the belief and ethnic system as sometimes inappropriate and arbitrary, with the commoners sometimes treated like serfs, but the one that once broken, left the people adrift and alone in a new and almost unfamiliar world. Moore does not see the thousand years before Cook's " discovery" in any way as an Eden, nor really does she praise what the missionaries tried to create. She does portray the manipulations leading up to the annexation as instead negative, although not much details is provided. By then, the native people were a minority in their own islands.
Her last, quick, section is titled " The Voice of Land Shells, " and it is a personal reflection on the loss; melancholy in tone, it's also very well written. Will be certainly one appendix on personages and gods, with pronunciation indicated for the Hawai'ian words). There's a second appendix, a glossary, with many Hawai'ian word and pronunciations. These are helpful, given the welter of names featured in the narrative., About 10 years ago I read and enjoyed Moore's " I Myself Have Seen That: The Myth of Hawai'i. " This is not that book, not even close. Rather it's a straight forward history of Hawaii pre-annexation, based on and copiously quoting from publications, letters and so on of early on literate island visitors and settlers. With rare exclusion, Ms. Moore does not bring her own sociological or moral analyses into play, but simply creates down what happened and lets you drawn your own conclusion. I like that approach. The things i took away is that Hawaii from the earliest days until likely somewhere toward the ending of the first half of the twentieth century was just about as far from being a paradise as could be, and approached only with great caution. That was a brutal place. On a broader point of view, I took away lessons of the role of religion, both pagan and Christian, in maintaining interpersonal order. My only difficulty, and then only a slight one, is that I am somewhat vocabulary challenged and therefore experienced difficulty keeping up with the native Hawaiian names as written, with all the K's, L's, H's and vowels mixed in different orders. After a while I just threw in the towel and I really don't think it made any distinction.
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