Captive Paradise: A History of Hawaii
The author of this history does not paint a picture of Hawaii as a paradise. He depicts the Hawaiians as barbaric warriors who warred against each other for control. The explorer Cook was killed and his body was taken and brutalized, but eventually it was returned to his ship’s crew. The author does allow that the island’s population was decimated by the introduction of disease hitherto unknown. So this book purports to be a balanced account of the troubled history of the islands. The merchants and missionaries who took over to rule the islands are depicted as single-minded opportunists. The Hawaiian rulers were politically shrewd, but unable to stem the march of capitalism and the sugar, pineapple, and coffee industries. To fuel the agrarian expansion of the islands, Japanese and Filipino workers were brought to the islands because the native population had been reduced. For those of you who, like me, love Hawaii and delight in its beauty, this history will inform on the difficult way statehood was forced on the islanders as their voting rights were systematically taken away and competing nations for control made the alignment with the United States inevitable.
James L. Haley
St. Martin's Press