Book Review: Hawaii, by James Michener

index (1)First published in 1959 and clocking in at well over 900 pages, this novel has stood up to the test of time. Michener, as was his pattern in his series of historical novels, starts with a section on the geological history of Hawaii which I skimmed through. He then tells the history of Hawaii through the stories of various families who came to the islands. The first, a Polynesian group, travel in canoes from Bora Bora, a journey of thousands of miles which they undertook in the ninth century. They find the islands beautiful and fertile and are the first people to live there. The author then jumps ahead to the New England based missionaries who come to Hawaii in the 1820s along with the whaling ships with their crews with their years long voyages. Their descendants become the economic and social ruling class who imported the Chinese and Japanese laborers to work on the sugar and pineapple plantations. The laborers’ children and grandchildren had to struggle to be accepted as full members of Hawaiian society and experienced many problems of racism in their fight. I found this book interesting and an easy way to absorb the history of our 50th state.

RATING: * * * * Very, very good

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Reviewed by: kh

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