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.
©2014 James L. Haley (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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"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.
"Great book though narrator is an acquired taste."
Sorry Joe, I know you tried. Got used to it though... Well done story. Great.
"A balanced perspective"
An in depth look at Hawaiian history from all sides.
Most histories either vilify the white man or explain how the natives got what they deserved. The author does a good job of portraying the major characters as real human beings warts and all. Still, one comes away with tremendous sympathy for the native Hawaiians.
He clearly demonstrates that the native monarchs were just as complicit in commercializing the islands as the sugar barons or sea captains. And they did it with full understanding of the consequences of their actions.
He dispels the myth of the "good old days" by pointing out that in pre-contact Hawaii 9,999 out of 10,000 natives were essentially serfs subject to human sacrifice or capital punishment at the whim of the rulers.
He makes no apologies for the annexation movement condemning it in the harshest terms. But he is also quick to quell historical "what ifs" by pointing out that the next most likely fate for the islands was to become a Japanese protectorate--a bullet dodged.
I enjoyed the performance but I dislike the current trend to perform audiobooks as opposed to reading them. A Scottish character--break out the Highland brogue, a Spaniard--rev up the RRRRRs. I wish they would offer a straight reading along with the performance version of these books.
I would recommend this book to anyone seriously interested in Hawaiian history, but it is detailed so don't expect to get through in on a plane ride to your island vacation.
I have listened to a few other books on the history of Hawaii. They have something to learn since they all may cover the same topic it is by the details they provide that they differ. I have learned a few details of the heritage of my people from this book that I have never known.
For anyone wishing to learn something of the people of Hawaii this is a good place to start. Yes, it does follow the lives of the "Royals". They all pretty much have to since there is not too much written about us commoners since, in the scheme of things the kanakas did not rate that highly in all that matter.
Still, give this book a listen and learn.
"narrator was just horrible"
too many ways to say I had a hard time finishing this book due to the narrator
"The author calls Hawaiians "natives""
James Haley tries for an unbiased ( sometimes clinical) approach but in his attempt to avoid the biases created from cultural sensitivity he disregards the culture itself, always coming from the perspective of the white people. It is good in that he presents a clear view of all the information
"good read... or listen"
It was good, the author did a good job of adding enough description to visualize the people and setting. the reading was good, but pronunciation is not 100% accurate.
there's a strong personal opinion which surfaces throughout, but based on the facts presented appears to be well grounded.
"Excellent telling of Hawaii"
i read this before a long stay in Hawaii. happy to know the whole story. Great cribs notes at the end, too
"An Excellent Summary of the Hawaiian Monarchy."
I particularly enjoyed Haley's honest assessment of Hawaiian culture, as opposed to a whitewashed nostalgia of native life. I wasn't expecting his treatment of the American era to be so brief, but I suppose that goes beyond the subject of this book which focuses on the creation of an American territory in place of a Hawaiian kingdom.
Provides an insightful and balanced view without romanticism. The story of the people of their time living the life of their time.
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