Lea Anna, August 30, 2012 (view all comments by Lea Anna)
I love Sarah Vowell and was ecstatic when I heard she was writing a book focused on Hawaiian history. While it isn't the most in-depth book on the subject, she does a great job creating a primer for those unfamiliar with the island's history while adding her humor to it. I recommend it to anyone that is going to Hawai'i for vacation because they'll look at the islands and its people different. It's definitely an eye-opener for those that aren't aware of the 50th State's past. I'm glad she decided to tackle it as a subject.
oenonome, April 22, 2012 (view all comments by oenonome)
I love Sarah Vowell - I wish I had loved the book. Not enough history to be a book of history, not enough humor to be a book of humor. There is a little history and a little humor and wit but if you want to learn of the annexation of Hawaii you will be better served looking elsewhere - if you are looking for Vowell's wit read her other books or see her in a personal appearance.
odijooonpurpose, March 27, 2012 (view all comments by odijooonpurpose)
A-plus -- this was great to read on my first trip to the islands. I was already very aware of being on someone else's land, this book brought home some of the history, and made it come alive. Vowell's dry humor comes through bringing some dark days in American history forth for us to hold together. Pick this one up, read it, savor it!
JAMES STENGLE, January 4, 2012 (view all comments by JAMES STENGLE)
Great history of Hawaii and Uncle Sam. If you are interested in native peoples and how the US has "conquerred" various cultures, this is an excellent read. Highly recommend to those interested in Hawaiian culture. Thanks!
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by Los Angeles Times,
"Vowell is an intellectual melting pot. Her cleverness is gorgeously American"
by The New York Times Book Review,
"Its scintillating cast includes dour missionaries, genital-worshiping heathens, Teddy Roosevelt, incestuous royalty, a nutty Mormon, a much-too-merry monarch, President Obama, sugar barons, an imprisoned queen and Vowell herself, in a kind of 50th-state variety show. It's a fun book...[a] playful, provocative, stand-up approach to history."
by Washington Post,
"As entertaining and personable as it is informative."
by Seattle Times,
"Sarah Vowell is for my money, the best essayist/radio commentator/sit-down comic and pointy headed history geek in the business."
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.
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.