Island World: A History of Hawai'i and the United States / Edition 1

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Island World is a history of Hawai'i that tells the islands' story from their volcanic beginnings thirty million years ago to the present day. Mixing geology, folklore, music, cultural commentary, and history, Gary Y. Okihiro overturns the customary narrative in which the United States acts upon and dominates Hawai'i. Instead, he depicts the islands' press against the continent, stirring American and endowing its story with fresh meaning.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Most histories relegate Hawai'i to a peripheral role in American culture, presenting it as an isolated cluster of self-contained spaces. Gary Y. Okhiro's Island World offers a radically different view, an image of a gravitational pull that gradually draws the islands into the assimilation of statehood. Okhiro's heterodox view and his imaginative research make this chronicle a refreshing reassessment of a far-off place.
Publishers Weekly

In the first volume of a projected trilogy, Okihiro, professor of international and public affairs at Columbia, largely succeeds in a radical approach to historiography as applied to Hawaii. He defies the standard linear progression and view of "humans as subjects with volition without regard for the agencies of other life-forms...." Okihiro combines human history, natural history and mythic Hawaiian folklore with interpretations of how Hawaiian cultural artifacts (such as surfboards) infiltrated American culture and vice versa. He likewise depicts the lives of Hawaiians who wound up in North America, either by choice or involuntarily. In young islanders taken to be Westernized at special schools, Okihiro sees a parallel to similar cultural cleansing (or "schooling for subservience") of Native Americans. He also narrates the slow decimation of the rich and varied Hawaiian musical tradition reduced to clichés, à la Don Ho. Thus, Okihiro places the story of Hawaii in direct and constant relation to the story of the United States. Some readers may find this eclectic mix of facts hard to follow and synthesize, but all will come away intrigued and enlightened. 57 b&w photos, 6 maps. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Wall Street Journal - John Whitehead
“A startling perspective and a compelling one.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520261679
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2009
  • Series: California World History Library Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 328
  • Sales rank: 993,080
  • Product dimensions: 5.68 (w) x 7.78 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

Gary Y. Okihiro is Professor of
International and Public Affairs and Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University. His most recent books are Common Ground: Reimagining American History and Impounded: Dorothea Lange and the Censored Images of Japanese American
with Linda Gordon.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Introduction 1

1 Regions of Fire 6

2 Oceania's Expanse 43

3 Pagan Priest 72

4 Schooling for Subservience 98

5 Hawaiian Diaspora 135

5 Poetry in Motion 169

7 Islands and Continents 206

Notes 221

Bibliography 269

Index 291

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