The Fictioning Horror Sale
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


Interviews | September 2, 2014

Jill Owens: IMG David Mitchell: The Powells.com Interview



David MitchellDavid Mitchell's newest mind-bending, time-skipping novel may be his most accomplished work yet. Written in six sections, one per decade, The Bone... Continue »
  1. $21.00 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    The Bone Clocks

    David Mitchell 9781400065677

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$10.95
Used Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
3 Hawthorne American Studies- General
1 Local Warehouse American Studies- General

Unfamiliar Fishes

by

Unfamiliar Fishes Cover

ISBN13: 9781594487873
ISBN10: 1594487871
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

 

Staff Pick

Unfamiliar Fishes is a lively examination of America's influence in the Hawaiian Islands, from the early-19th-century conversion efforts of Christian missionaries to the coup led by their grandchildren. Vowell keeps the story moving with rich characterizations of key figures and clever use of contemporary references.
Recommended by Pedro, Powells.com

Review-A-Day

"History is everywhere in Hawaii. Imagine the three sides of a triangle in Honolulu: at one point is Pearl Harbor, home of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and site of the Japanese attack on Dec. 7, 1941, arguably the most momentous day of the 20th century. At another corner is the Iolani Palace, the only palace in the U.S. and the place where the last queen of Hawaii, Liliuokalani, was locked up after the Hawaiian monarchy was overthrown in 1893." Jeff Baker, The Oregonian (Read the entire Oregonian review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From the bestselling author of The Wordy Shipmates, an examination of Hawaii, the place where Manifest Destiny got a sunburn.

Many think of 1776 as the defining year of American history, when we became a nation devoted to the pursuit of happiness through self-government. In Unfamiliar Fishes, Sarah Vowell argues that 1898 might be a year just as defining, when, in an orgy of imperialism, the United States annexed Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Guam, and invaded first Cuba, then the Philippines, becoming an international superpower practically overnight.

Among the developments in these outposts of 1898, Vowell considers the Americanization of Hawaii the most intriguing. From the arrival of New England missionaries in 1820, their goal to Christianize the local heathen, to the coup d'tat of the missionaries' sons in 1893, which overthrew the Hawaiian queen, the events leading up to American annexation feature a cast of beguiling, and often appealing or tragic, characters: whalers who fired cannons at the Bible-thumpers denying them their God-given right to whores, an incestuous princess pulled between her new god and her brother-husband, sugar barons, lepers, con men, Theodore Roosevelt, and the last Hawaiian queen, a songwriter whose sentimental ode Aloha 'Oe serenaded the first Hawaiian president of the United States during his 2009 inaugural parade.

With her trademark smart-alecky insights and reporting, Vowell lights out to discover the off, emblematic, and exceptional history of the fiftieth state, and in so doing finds America, warts and all.

Review:

"Recounting the brief, remarkable history of a unified and independent Hawaii, Vowell, a public radio star and bestselling author (The Wordy Shipmates), retraces the impact of New England missionaries who began arriving in the early 1800s to remake the island paradise into a version of New England. In her usual wry tone, Vowell brings out the ironies of their efforts: while the missionaries tried to prevent prostitution with seamen and the resulting deadly diseases, the natives believed it was the missionaries who would kill them: 'they will pray us all to death.' Along the way, and with the best of intentions, the missionaries eradicated an environmentally friendly, laid-back native culture (although the Hawaiians did have taboos against women sharing a table with men, upon penalty of death, and a reverence for 'royal incest'). Freely admitting her own prejudices, Vowell gives contemporary relevance to the past as she weaves in, for instance, Obama's boyhood memories. Outrageous and wise-cracking, educational but never dry, this book is a thought-provoking and entertaining glimpse into the U.S.'s most unusual state and its unanticipated twists on the familiar story of Americanization. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)

Synopsis:

From Puritans to heathens — Sarah Vowell takes on Hawaii in this New York Times bestseller.

Of all the countries the United States invaded or colonized in 1898, Sarah Vowell considers the story of the Americanization of Hawaii to be the most intriguing. From the arrival of the New England missionaries in 1820, who came to Christianize the local heathens, to the coup d'état led by the missionaries' sons in 1893, overthrowing the Hawaiian queen, the events leading up to American annexation feature a cast of beguiling, if often appalling or tragic, characters. Whalers who fire cannons at the Bible-thumpers denying them their god-given right to whores; an incestuous princess pulled between her new god and her brother-husband; sugar barons, con men, Theodore Roosevelt, and the last Hawaiian queen, a songwriter whose sentimental ode "Aloha 'Oe" serenaded the first Hawaiian-born president of the United States during his 2009 inaugural parade.

With her trademark wry insights and reporting, Vowell sets out to discover the odd, emblematic, and exceptional history of the fiftieth state. In examining the place where Manifest Destiny got a sunburn, she finds America again, warts and all.

Video

About the Author

Hip, irreverent, and with a voice that NPR fans of This American Life instantly perk up to, Sarah Vowell makes both readers and listeners laugh out loud with her wry, comic observations on everything from politics to pop culture. She is the author of Radio On, Take the Cannoli, The Partly Cloudy Patriot, and The Wordy Shipmates. She lives in New York City.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 6 comments:

Engebo, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by Engebo)
I wasn't sure if this topic was going to grab me--the story of Hawaii's absorption into the U.S. and the lingering effects that remain from that act of imperialism.

I shouldn't have doubted Sarah Vowell. The story is engaging, and as usual she injects intelligence and humor (which she seems able to do, no matter how grim the topic--see "Assassination Vacation"). She delves into the history that has resulted in the long-harbored resentment that many Hawaiians feel today regarding their land and the quick transformation of Hawaii from independent kingdom to U.S. state.

Most readers will enjoy this book solely on Ms. Vowell's humor, but if you have any penchant whatsoever for a good story and/or history, you'll find this work doubly or triply satisfying.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(3 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)
BookFestival, September 1, 2011 (view all comments by BookFestival)
'Unfamiliar Fishes' is a very well written history of Hawaii. I highly recommend 'UF' as the history is correct and she doesn't glorify the native Hawaiians as many histories do. There is also a lot of humor in this book. Sarah Vowell is a fine writer.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(3 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)
Margaret PLATIS, September 1, 2011 (view all comments by Margaret PLATIS)
Sarah Vowell does it again! She can make me laugh, cry and shake my head in disbelief -- all on the same page. Vowell takes on 19th century America's sins and foibles, while keeping her voice in the thoroughly smart-alecky 21st century, making her a fun read -- and an informative one. Unfamiliar Fishes will make you consider your next visit to Hawaii very differently.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(3 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 6 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9781594487873
Author:
Vowell, Sarah
Publisher:
Riverhead Hardcover
Subject:
United States - General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
US History-19th Century
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20110322
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8.2 x 5.61 x 0.62 in 0.46 lb
Age Level:
18-17

Other books you might like

  1. The perfect match Used Hardcover $6.50
  2. A Visit from the Goon Squad
    Used Trade Paper $7.50
  3. Physics of the Future: How Science...
    Used Hardcover $9.95
  4. Starter Vegetable Gardens: 24... Used Trade Paper $13.95
  5. The Social Animal: The Hidden...
    Used Hardcover $8.95
  6. Bite Me: A Love Story
    Used Hardcover $4.95

Related Subjects

» Featured Titles » Funny Book Sale
» History and Social Science » American Studies » General
» History and Social Science » Sale Books
» History and Social Science » Sociology » American Studies
» History and Social Science » US History » 19th Century
» History and Social Science » World History » General

Unfamiliar Fishes Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.95 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Riverhead Hardcover - English 9781594487873 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Unfamiliar Fishes is a lively examination of America's influence in the Hawaiian Islands, from the early-19th-century conversion efforts of Christian missionaries to the coup led by their grandchildren. Vowell keeps the story moving with rich characterizations of key figures and clever use of contemporary references.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Recounting the brief, remarkable history of a unified and independent Hawaii, Vowell, a public radio star and bestselling author (The Wordy Shipmates), retraces the impact of New England missionaries who began arriving in the early 1800s to remake the island paradise into a version of New England. In her usual wry tone, Vowell brings out the ironies of their efforts: while the missionaries tried to prevent prostitution with seamen and the resulting deadly diseases, the natives believed it was the missionaries who would kill them: 'they will pray us all to death.' Along the way, and with the best of intentions, the missionaries eradicated an environmentally friendly, laid-back native culture (although the Hawaiians did have taboos against women sharing a table with men, upon penalty of death, and a reverence for 'royal incest'). Freely admitting her own prejudices, Vowell gives contemporary relevance to the past as she weaves in, for instance, Obama's boyhood memories. Outrageous and wise-cracking, educational but never dry, this book is a thought-provoking and entertaining glimpse into the U.S.'s most unusual state and its unanticipated twists on the familiar story of Americanization. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Review A Day" by , "History is everywhere in Hawaii. Imagine the three sides of a triangle in Honolulu: at one point is Pearl Harbor, home of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and site of the Japanese attack on Dec. 7, 1941, arguably the most momentous day of the 20th century. At another corner is the Iolani Palace, the only palace in the U.S. and the place where the last queen of Hawaii, Liliuokalani, was locked up after the Hawaiian monarchy was overthrown in 1893." (Read the entire Oregonian review)
"Synopsis" by , From Puritans to heathens — Sarah Vowell takes on Hawaii in this New York Times bestseller.

Of all the countries the United States invaded or colonized in 1898, Sarah Vowell considers the story of the Americanization of Hawaii to be the most intriguing. From the arrival of the New England missionaries in 1820, who came to Christianize the local heathens, to the coup d'état led by the missionaries' sons in 1893, overthrowing the Hawaiian queen, the events leading up to American annexation feature a cast of beguiling, if often appalling or tragic, characters. Whalers who fire cannons at the Bible-thumpers denying them their god-given right to whores; an incestuous princess pulled between her new god and her brother-husband; sugar barons, con men, Theodore Roosevelt, and the last Hawaiian queen, a songwriter whose sentimental ode "Aloha 'Oe" serenaded the first Hawaiian-born president of the United States during his 2009 inaugural parade.

With her trademark wry insights and reporting, Vowell sets out to discover the odd, emblematic, and exceptional history of the fiftieth state. In examining the place where Manifest Destiny got a sunburn, she finds America again, warts and all.

spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.