Captive Paradise

  • by James L. Haley
  • Narrated by Joe Barrett
  • 13 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In the tradition of Nathaniel Philbrick and David McCullough comes the first full-scale narrative history of Hawaii, an epic tale of empire, industry, war, and culture.
The most recent state to join the union, Hawaii is the only one to have once been a royal kingdom. After its discovery by Captain Cook in the late 18th century, Hawaii was fought over by European powers determined to take advantage of its position as the crossroads of the Pacific. The arrival of the first missionaries marked the beginning of the struggle between a native culture with its ancient gods, sexual libertinism, and rites of human sacrifice and the rigid values of the Calvinists. While Hawaii's royal rulers adopted Christianity, they also fought to preserve their ancient ways. But the success of the ruthless American sugar barons sealed their fate, and in1893 the American Marines overthrew Liliuokalani, the last queen of Hawaii.
Captive Paradise is the story of King Kamehameha I, the Conqueror, who unified the islands through terror and bloodshed but whose dynasty succumbed to inbreeding; of Gilded Age tycoons like Claus Spreckels, who brilliantly outmaneuvered his competitors; of firebrand Lorrin Thurston, who was determined that Hawaii be ruled by whites; of President McKinley, who presided over the eventual annexation of the islands. Not since James Michener's classic novel Hawaii has there been such a vibrant and compelling portrait of an extraordinary place and its people.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Good, but not enough history of the Island.

All this writer focuses on is the royal family. The beginning is great. A more complete history of the late 1700's.

But that's a very small part of the book. Beyond that this is not a history of Hawaii but a history of the royal family. If you are looking to learn about Hawaii and their people, industry, etc as a whole and not just about the royal family then get a different book. This is not the one.
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- Jonathan

Biased History at its Worst!

Would you try another book from James L. Haley and/or Joe Barrett?

I was extremely disappointed by this book. The author states in his preface that he has a “sense of responsibility in handling a subject as multi-faceted as Hawaiʻi” and that he will focus on the “actual facts”. Yet his presentation of the history of colonization is based predominantly on the diaries of seamen and missionaries. There is no attempt made to truly understand the depth of the Hawaiian culture or the viewpoints of the Hawaiian people. Perhaps the author should have further considered the “academic” viewpoint that he decries for the merits of providing a balanced history.


What didn’t you like about Joe Barrett’s performance?

Who had the bright idea to use a New York actor to read a book full of Hawaiian language? The pronunciation is grating.


Any additional comments?

This is just another work of fiction to put in the dusty corner of biased “history” books.

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- Joanna

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-16-2014
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.