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As a native of the island state of Hawai`i, I grabbed this book with interest as soon as I found it to be available. I began listening and quickly realized that the author has attempted to tell too much story, much like a newspaper or magazine article. I wish that she had chosen instead a subtopic, such as the rise and fall of the monarchy, a biography of Lili`uokalani, or the dreadful land grab by foreign entrepreneurs. There is much backstory to all of these subjects. Unfortunately, Ms. Siler only skimmed the surface. The overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy is still a very volatile subject in the islands, and the indigenous natives, even after more than a hundred years and a Presidential apology, still regard the "haole" as usurpers and thieves.
I am delighted, however, that there are those like Ms. Siler who continue to highlight the sad events of the Hawaiian people. This is a wound that can only be healed by enlightenment and education as to the actual events that transpired not so long ago. The history of Hawai`i, when viewed in retrospect, is no different from hundreds of other similar events that have taken place in the course of history. The Mongols subjugated the Chinese, the Romans subdued most of the civilized world in its day, the Spaniards overwhelmed the Mayans and the Americans conquered the Indians, ad infinitum.
This book, for the most part, follows the true chronological events of the past two hundred years. Perhaps the author tried to remain unbiased, but I felt the narrator was a little off-putting . Her rather condescending tone only exacerbated her horrible pronounciation of the Hawaiian language. I admit that for the untrained ear she may sound perfectly fine, but "auwe noho`i e!" (so sad!) it hurt my ears.
26 of 27 people found this review helpful
I loved the book and the performance was strong (but nothing amazing, hence the 4 stars). I've read several histories of Hawai'i, and while the book could have been more comprehensive (what history book couldn't?), I thought it delved deep into most of the important points that lead to the annexation. Give it a read!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful