Hawaii

( 52 )

Overview

In Hawaii, Pulitzer Prize?winning author James Michener weaves the classic saga that brought Hawaii?s epic history vividly alive to the American public on its initial publication in 1959, and continues to mesmerize even today.

The volcanic processes by which the Hawaiian Islands grew from the ocean floor were inconceivably slow, and the land remained untouched by man for countless centuries until, little more than a thousand years ago, ...
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Hawaii

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Overview

In Hawaii, Pulitzer Prize–winning author James Michener weaves the classic saga that brought Hawaii’s epic history vividly alive to the American public on its initial publication in 1959, and continues to mesmerize even today.

The volcanic processes by which the Hawaiian Islands grew from the ocean floor were inconceivably slow, and the land remained untouched by man for countless centuries until, little more than a thousand years ago, Polynesian seafarers made the perilous journey across the Pacific and discovered their new home. They lived and flourished in this tropical paradise according to their ancient traditions and beliefs until, in the early nineteenth century, American missionaries arrived, bringing a new creed and a new way of life to a Stone Age society. The impact of the missionaries had only begun to be absorbed when other national groups, with equally different customs, began to migrate in great numbers to the islands. The story of modern Hawaii, and of this novel, is one of how disparate peoples, struggling to keep their identity yet live with one another in harmony, ultimately joined together to build America’s strong and vital fiftieth state.
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Editorial Reviews

Baltimore Sun
[A] mammoth epic of the islands, [a] vast panorama . . . wonderful.
From the Publisher
“Wonderful . . . [a] mammoth epic of the islands.”The Baltimore Sun
 
“One novel you must not miss! A tremendous work from every point of view—thrilling, exciting, lusty, vivid, stupendous.”Chicago Tribune
 
“From Michener’s devotion to the islands, he has written a monumental chronicle of Hawaii, an extraordinary and fascinating novel.”Saturday Review
 
“Memorable . . . a superb biography of a people.”Houston Chronicle
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780736620567
  • Publisher: Books on Tape, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/1/1991
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Unabridged

Meet the Author

James A. Michener was one of the world’s most popular writers, the author of more than forty books of fiction and nonfiction, including the Pulitzer Prize–winning Tales of the South Pacific, the bestselling novels The Source, Hawaii, Alaska, Chesapeake, Centennial, Texas, Caribbean, and Caravans, and the memoir The World Is My Home. Michener served on the advisory council to NASA and the International Broadcast Board, which oversees the Voice of America. Among dozens of awards and honors, he received America’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 1977, and an award from the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities in 1983 for his commitment to art in America. Michener died in 1997 at the age of ninety.

Biography

James Albert Michener is a Pulitzer prize-winning author reknowned for his historical epics. A prolific novelist and relentless researcher, Michener wrote over books. Despite his substantial commercial success, he was known to be a humble man and a was an active philanthropist. His many beloved works include Tales of the South Pacific, which was adapted for Broadway and film as South Pacific, Hawaii and The Source.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

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    1. Also Known As:
      James Albert Michener (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 3, 1907
    1. Date of Death:
      October 16, 1997
    2. Place of Death:
      Austin, Texas

Read an Excerpt

Millions upon millions of years ago, when the continents were already formed and the principal features of the earth had been decided, there existed, then as now, one aspect of the world that dwarfed all others. It was a mighty ocean, resting uneasily to the east of the largest continent, a restless ever-changing, gigantic body of water that would later be described as pacific.

Over its brooding surface immense winds swept back and forth, whipping the waters into towering waves that crashed down upon the world’s seacoasts, tearing away rocks and eroding the land. In its dark bosom, strange life was beginning to form, minute at first, then gradually of a structure now lost even to memory. Upon its farthest reaches birds with enormous wings came to rest, and then flew on.

Agitated by a moon stronger then than now, immense tides ripped across this tremendous ocean, keeping it in a state of torment. Since no great amounts of sand had yet been built, the waters where they reached shore were universally dark, black as nigh and fearful.

Scores of millions of years before man had risen from the shores of the ocean to perceive its grandeur and to venture forth upon its turbulent waves, this eternal sea existed, larger than any other of the earth’s features, vaster than the sister oceans combined, wild, terrifying in its immensity and imperative in its universal role.

How utterly vast it was! How its surges modified the very balance of the earth! How completely lonely it was, hidden in the dark ness of night or burning in the dazzling power of a younger sun than ours.

At recurring intervals the ocean grew cold. Ice piled up along itsextremities, and so pulled vast amounts of water from the sea, so that the wandering shoreline of the continents sometimes jutted miles farther out than before. Then, for a hundred thousand years, the ceaseless ocean would tear at the exposed shelf of the continents, grinding rocks into sand and incubating new life.

Later, the fantastic accumulations of ice would melt, setting cold waters free to join the heaving ocean, and the coasts of the continents would lie submerged. Now the restless energy of the sea deposited upon the ocean bed layers of silt and skeletons and salt. For a million years the ocean would build soil, and then the ice would return; the waters would draw away; and the land would lie exposed. Winds from the north and south would howl across the empty seas and last stupendous waves upon the shattering shore. Thus the ocean continued is alternate building and tearing down.

Master of life, guardian of the shorelines, regulator of temperatures and heaving sculptor of mountains, the great ocean existed.


Copyright 2002 by James A. Michener
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 52 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(39)

4 Star

(6)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 52 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Great Historical Fiction....Lilly Parks

    I read this about three years ago, and I still enjoy reading it again whenever the urge strikes me. The book fairly accurately tells the story of Hawaii. The more you read the more you can learn about the people, history, and religion of these wonderful islands. The book does not portray Hawaii as a sunny vacation spot for rich americans, it's shown in it's true beautiful form. It starts when the Polynesians came to Hawaii, next other settlers came to Hawaii, and on to almost the present day.

    It's just a great historical novel. Highly recommend.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2006

    The ultimate family saga

    This, as far I'm concerned, is the ultimate 'family saga' novel. Some call it Michener's master work, and I wholeheartedly agree with that assessment. HAWAII follows an organizational pattern familiar to readers of Michener's other huge historical novels. First he tells the geological and prehistoric story of the region that provides the book's setting. Next, he introduces characters from early in that region's history - characters whose descendants people the book's subsequent sections, joined by a new group of immigrants as each of the tale's installments unfolds. The Polynesians - the New England missionaries, whalers, and merchants - the Chinese - and finally, the Japanese, arrive in different eras and under different circumstances. Each of these groups finds its own place, or rather creates its own place, in a society that's both challenged and enriched by Hawaii's ever-increasing racial and cultural diversity. Genealogy ties this vast story's threads together, yet each of its major characters exists as a memorable individual in his or her own right. The author never allows his book's colorful setting, or the exciting backdrop of world events against which local happenings play out, to upstage those characters - nor does he let them blur into each other, which could easily happen with this many for both author and reader to keep straight. But what reader could possibly forget the great Alii Nui Malama, no matter how many descendants of the original Malama wind up sharing her name? Who could forget missionary wife Jerusha Bromley Hale, or the Chinese concubine whose true name her hundreds of descendants never know? HAWAII heads the short list of books that I can read over and over, and always find fresh. A master work, indeed!

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2005

    Inspired a move to Hawaii

    Never has a novel had more of an impact on my life. I've read Hawaii 3 times. Once, when I was a child and could barely understand it. The second time I was a highschool senior and at a crossroad in my life. Finally, I read it for the third time after I just gave in and moved to Maui. Every chapter to me is fasinating! Unlike most people, I loved the first chapter. I loved the long and painful geological development of these islands. It took millions of years for the Hawaii we know and love to look and feel the way it does today. Michener captures this struggle beautifully. I think this chapter sets the stage perfectly for the rest of this epic tale. I believe this is a must read for anybody who wants to know Hawaii. I especially recommend it for anybody who might be considering a move to the islands. This is historical story telling at its finest!

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2005

    A History Book and More!

    This book is fabulous. It is the history of the Hawaiian Islands in a novel form; the narrative parallels 'real' history so closely that sometimes the only differences are the names Mr. Michener substitutes for real-life characters. I've read 'straight' histories such as Hawaii Pono, which turned out to be the same information in a much less enjoyable style. Unless you need all the historical nitty-gritty, read this one.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2002

    I Want to Know More

    I live in Hawaii, and reading this book has given me a new prospective from which to view these beautiful islands. I have found myself wanting to know more about the people, the real people who built these islands. This book has piqued my historical curiosity!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2001

    Wonderful

    This is a wonderful novel. Although the first chapter felt like it dragged on and on, the next 1000 pages flew by. While the novel is supposed to be ficticious, Michener has obviously done a lot of research. Many of the stories parallel with Hawaii's actual history. This novel is so good that you will find yourself reading into all hours of the night.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2013

    Classic .... not so much

    I know this is a classic by an incredible author and that's the reason I decided to read this, but I was bored from page 1 to the end. I think it's because the first stories that took the first 200 pages were almost Greek mythology type stories, which is not my thing and I could never get back into it.

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2011

    A wonderfully written book

    I too read the book many years earlier than again a few years back. I am ready again but would love to be able to have it on my Nook. If anyone else out there would like to have it for their Nook, please send notice to publisher through B&N. Thanks

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2010

    A Captivating Novel!

    This novel is one of the best I have ever read. I didn't think it would appeal to me, but the wonder of the islands described beautifully got me hooked to the story. Michener sets us with the making of the islands, followed by the narration of the early Polynesian islanders. Then fast forward to the 1800's, and he introduces the religious history and the missionaries. He blends in cultures of Chinese, Japanese, Caucasian, and Hawaiian very well, and gives us a well developed character for each ethnicity to follow. I look forward to reading Michener's other novels!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    Thirty years ago I read this book on the 102 Monkland bus as I t

    Thirty years ago I read this book on the 102 Monkland bus as I travelled to my Montreal waitressing job every day. I was transported not only to work but to Hawaii. I learned about the incredible ingenuity and bravery of sea-farers as they sought home, happiness and future. A riveting read all through!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2014

    Michener is FANTASTIC! Whoever transcribed HAWAII for Nook is n

    Michener is FANTASTIC! Whoever transcribed HAWAII for Nook is not. I can't believe the number of typos! Random House should pay people to read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2014

    A must read

    If you like historical novels

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2014

    To Lela

    I just came up with it. Meet me there. Plzzzzzz.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2014

    Lela

    Fine. I eill check it out

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2014

    Winter

    "Of course baby," she says unhooking her bra. "Touch me," she whispers seductively as she slips off her shorts and tho<3>ng.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2014

    Revin

    "Thats why we are married"he slips her shirt off

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  • Posted April 4, 2014

    WONDERFUL!

    My late father was a great Michener fan, and I inherited that aspect from him. "Hawaii" is one of the best books I've ever read, and when I saw the opportunity to (FINALLY!!) get it in NOOK form, I jumped at it.

    Michener paints a terrific picture of the start of Hawaii, from its' earliest days as a civilization up until the 1960's, and it was marvelous reading it again.

    However, I will say one thing; in Michener's Hawaii, as well as Centennial, he had the somewhat ponderous habit of the first 100-150 pages as natural history of the area. I'm more of a human history fan, and I do tend to skip the first part of his books to get to the meat of the story.

    That's just my opinion, your mileage may vary.

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  • Posted April 4, 2014

    Excellent

    It was an excellent read. I always enjoy Michener's work!

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  • Posted April 4, 2014

    Heavy Classic Finally Available as a Nook Book

    A great classic, but quite heavy even as a paperback book. It was a delight to finally be able to read it on my itty bitty Nook.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2014

    Highly recommend

    If you like history, you will thoroughly enjoy this book. It was so interesting to read how the chain of events shaped the Island. It is a long read, but worth it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 52 Customer Reviews

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