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Thread: Hawaiian history

  1. #1

    Default Hawaiian history

    Got a friend who wants to read a basic history of Hawai`i - pre-kingdoms through overthrow to statehood. Most of my reading has been in specific areas, so I don't know of a good, honest, single-volume general history book I can recommend.

    I turn to the wealth of knowledge that is the members of HT. What say ye all?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Hawaiian history

    Quote Originally Posted by Leo Lakio View Post
    Got a friend who wants to read a basic history of Hawai`i - pre-kingdoms through overthrow to statehood. Most of my reading has been in specific areas, so I don't know of a good, honest, single-volume general history book I can recommend.

    I turn to the wealth of knowledge that is the members of HT. What say ye all?

    I'd be happy to provide him with notes from my highschool Hawaiian History class.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Hawaiian history

    I enjoyed Hawaii Pono. But it was only the modern history of Hawaii with emphasis on the various waves of immigration over the course of the years.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Hawaiian history

    Surprisingly enough, an economics book that I am about 2/3 through reading provides a pretty detailed (and fascinating) history of Hawai'i, from the time of the first settlers from Polynesia through the importation of plantation workers and up to the present. What's most interesting about this particular book is that it was written by one of the most pre-eminent economists in Hawai'i by the name of Dr. Thomas Kemper Hitch, who was an economist with First Hawaiian Bank for many years (he died in 1989). The book is called "Islands In Transition: The Past, Present and Future of Hawai'i's Economy".

    I know most economics books tend to be very dry and boring, but this one is fascinating because it covers the period beginning from the 6th Century Polynesian society all the way through to Statehood and beyond. I've learned a lot about how economics and early Hawaiian society created what is Hawai'i today. Among some of the nuggets I got: when the Polynesians first settled in Hawai'i, they had no rulers (ali'i). This period of time is often referred to as the "ohana" economy when currency didn't exist. When the ali'i rose to power, one of the most interesting things (after the death of Kamehameha I) is they eventually changed the "government" of Hawai'i to benefit the maka'ainana by abolishing the kapu system, creating the first Hawaiian Constitution and Bill of Rights, and to some extent, the Great Mahele (but I think the Great Mahele also doomed the kanakas too because it also allowed outsiders to buy land). As Hitch describes it, the ali'i of Hawai'i were the first and probably only rulers of a sovereign nation who willingly gave up some of their power without having any external forces or bloody revolutions to force them into changing.

    And if circumstances had been slightly different during the times of the explorers, the people of Hawai'i might be living under a Russian, French, Portuguese or Spanish flag instead of the American flag!

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  5. #5

    Default Re: Hawaiian history

    Quote Originally Posted by Leo Lakio View Post
    Got a friend who wants to read a basic history of Hawai`i - pre-kingdoms through overthrow to statehood. Most of my reading has been in specific areas, so I don't know of a good, honest, single-volume general history book I can recommend.

    I turn to the wealth of knowledge that is the members of HT. What say ye all?
    Honestly Leo I am unaware of a single tome that adequately covers it all. I prefer the newspapers and drawing my own conclusions.

    For primordial history, I rely on the 19th century works (mostly newspaper articles) written in Hawaiian.

    For most of the 20th century, the island dailies hold the best work.

    Whenever I need to kick up my histamines, I take out Shoal of Time by Gavan Daws and start to rash up in no time. Then I grab Lilikala's Native Lands and Foreign Desires: Pehea La E Pono Ai? and calm down a bit (although parts of it still leaves me grinding my teeth). Her's would be the work I would suggest to your friend, if said friend really wants to learn about it.

    For our current state of affairs, I read the mags, the blogs, but mostly the current "Hawaiian brain economy" is an underground, documented through the showcasing of other events.

    pax

  6. #6
    waioli kai Guest

    Default Exalted Sits The Chief, Re: Hawai'ian history

    .
    --Got a friend who wants to read a basic history of Hawai`i - pre-kingdoms through overthrow to statehood ...(want to) know of a good, honest, single-volume general history book I can recommend.--Leo Lakio
    The Ancient History of Hawai'i Island::Exalted Sits The Chief by Ross Cordy could be a worthwhile read.
    Last edited by waioli kai; April 4th, 2007 at 09:22 PM. Reason: Hawai'i history vs. Hawaii history, Hawai'ian vs Hawaiian

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Hawaiian history

    My ancestors brought the Ali'i system to Hawai'i
    Last edited by PoiBoy; April 5th, 2007 at 05:27 AM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Hawaiian history

    WK: you know there's no `okina in the word "Hawaiian," yeah? It's an English word.

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    Default Re: Hawaiian history

    Quote Originally Posted by Pua'i Mana'o View Post

    Whenever I need to kick up my histamines, I take out Shoal of Time by Gavan Daws and start to rash up in no time.
    Daws' Shoal of Time is what we used for my high school Hawaiian History class. I found it approachable and easy to read. I'm no Hawaiian History expert but I'd say it's a good one-book primer if that is what one is looking for.

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    Thumbs up Re: Hawaiian history

    An interesting timeline of Hawaiian history.
    http://www.hawaiian-roots.com/timeline.htm
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Hawaiian history

    I suggest reading Tom Coffman's "Nation Within" and Michael Daugherty's "To Steal A Kingdom". They are pretty straight forward books, not espousing any particular side of the issue. They just provide a lot of facts & kind of let you make up your own minds.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Hawaiian history

    Quote Originally Posted by Menehune Man View Post
    An interesting timeline of Hawaiian history.
    http://www.hawaiian-roots.com/timeline.htm
    Heh. Kind of amusingly simplified, though. I loved this part:
    "The Great Mahele is signed by the King, which has to do with land ownership"

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Hawaiian history

    Quote Originally Posted by ericncyn View Post
    Daws' Shoal of Time is what we used for my high school Hawaiian History class. I found it approachable and easy to read. I'm no Hawaiian History expert but I'd say it's a good one-book primer if that is what one is looking for.

    i, too, read the aforementioned book for high school. did you happen to go to sacred hearts academy?
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  14. #14

    Default Re: Hawaiian history

    There is a new book out Captive Paradise: A History of Hawaii by James L. Haley. I cannot recommend the book because I have not read it, but thought I would mention it here in case anyone is interested.

    Blurb from Publishers Weekly:
    "[Haley's] excellent exploration of the legendary figures of Hawaiian culture avoids the revisionist tendency to 'rhapsodize over the natives' lost innocence' and 'gloss over the horrors of precontact life... This balanced perspective is certainly welcome in the canon of Hawaiian history... this is an otherwise eye-opening study of Hawaii before it became a modern tourism capital—the Hawaii which continues to fascinate Westerners today" - Publishers Weekly.com

    Amazon listing

    Review at The Daily Beast

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    Thumbs up Re: Hawaiian history

    The most educated, unbiased histographer I know is Lucia Tarallo, accessible on Facebook. She was formerly married to Rocky Jensen (an Hawaiian artist), worked at the Bishop Museum, and is totally immersed in Hawaiian History (redacted).

    A good friend, she amazes me with her knowledge of the past.
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