Lost Kingdom: Hawaii's Last Queen, the Sugar Kings, and America's First Imperial Adventure

Lost Kingdom: Hawaii's Last Queen, the Sugar Kings, and America's First Imperial Adventure

by Julia Flynn Siler

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802194886
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 01/03/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 297,924
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Julia Flynn Siler is an award-winning journalist. Her book, The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty was a New York Times bestseller. She has written for Business Week and The New York Times, and is now a contributing writer for The Wall Street Journal in San Francisco. She lives in Northern California with her husband and sons.

Read an Excerpt

The queen was back at the palace, just a few blocks from Honolulu Harbor, having been rebuffed two days earlier in her attempt to introduce a new constitution. Hearing the beat of the American military drums, she stepped onto the veranda and watched from above as the troops marched from the harbor. As they kicked up dust in the unpaved streets, she could see they were heavily weighed down with double belts of cartridges. The sun sank and the skies over Honolulu darkened. The blue-jacketed sailors approached the palace.

Beneath the town’s newly installed electric streetlamps, Lili‘uokalani could see them pushing a revolving cannon and a fearsome Gatling gun that could rip through a large crowd. Following their movements in the streets, she felt fear. Why had the troops landed when everything seemed at peace? The air was heavy with the scent of gardenias. Mosquitoes were drawn to the sweat of the blue-jacketed sailors. As the troops marched past the palace grounds, accompanied by drum rolls, they hoisted their rifles to their shoulders and seemed to point them in the queen’s direction.

Were their weapons drawn and ready to fire, as Lili‘uokalani later recalled? Or were they merely signaling their respect for Hawai‘i’s queen by marching past and beating the drums in a royal salute, as one of their commanding officers later insisted? Whatever their intention, this brash display of military power ignited a crisis that would change the course of American history.

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Lost Kingdom: Hawaii's Last Queen, the Sugar Kings and America's First Imperial Adventure 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a Hawaii born native hawaiian living on the mainland I was intrigued to see this new book. I bought it for my nook, and had to force myself to put it down. I was raised on the stories of the illegal overthrow of the monarchy, and the conflicts that followed. In my family the monarchy was always the good guy, but as usual when you delve more deeply into history, you find that they also contributed to their downfall. I enjoyed reading about the differant characters, and seeing their strenghts, and weaknesses.
Rusty-Spinner More than 1 year ago
A great read that was hard to put down, with the exception of the very annoying question marks (?) that appear throughout many of the Hawaiian names an words. Is this just and early Nook edition issue? Paid too much money to have this annoyance in an otherwise good book, and lowers my rating by at least one star.
Jack_Tamar More than 1 year ago
This is an A+ piece of work. It is well researched, thorough, but also easy to read. In reference to the ? that appear in the Hawaiian names on the nook version, they can be eliminated by changing the font type in the nook settings.
tammydotts on LibraryThing 22 days ago
As America expanded beyond its original 13 colonies, almost all new states and territories were added through treaties, purchases or by claiming land the U.S. government felt no one owned. Texans will tell you their state was an independent country before annexation although Mexico refused to acknowledge its independence.Then there¿s Hawaii. The chain of islands, annexed in 1898, was originally a series of island kingdoms before being unified in 1810 under Kamehameha I after a series of battles. Seven kings and one queen ruled the island chain before the monarchy crumbled under an influx of foreigners who invested heavily in the country.Julia Flynn Siler¿s Lost Kingdom details the end of Hawaiian independence in a fact-filled book that falls just short of a must-read.The story of Hawaii¿s downfall is readymade for Hollywood ¿ kings and queens fighting for their people, villainous sugar-cane magnates, midnight coups, secret messages encoded in songs. The facts as Siler lays them out should be a more compelling read than they are. Perhaps Lost Kingdom¿s shortcomings are only apparent when judged against other history books, such as those by Erik Larsen. And it may be unfair to judge Siler¿s work against Larsen. The two writers have different styles, and a reader¿s personal preference may determine which comes out on top.Siler begins her tale of Hawaii before its last monarch, Queen Lili¿uokalani takes the throne. The book explains the Hawaiian acceptance of visiting missionaries and lays the groundwork for what should be a peaceful future.To the Hawaiians¿ detriment, the foreign population brings disease for which the native population has no natural defense. The native population begins to decrease as Europeans and Americans increase their numbers. Marriages between Hawaiians and outsides further dilute the native population.As children raised by missionaries come of age, economic forces begin to tug at Hawaii. The islands can grow sugar and foreign investors are quick to start building empires and making their fortunes. When the crown needs to borrow money, it is foreign loans that shore up the throne. And with those loans come requests for favors and political power.Siler portrays an almost inevitable march to Hawaii¿s subjugation to outside influence. By 1887, King Kal¿kaua is forced to sign what becomes known as the Bayonet Constitution. The new constitution moves power from the King to his cabinet and legislature. Foreign resident aliens could now vote as could Hawaiians who met economic and literacy requirements. Asian immigrants, who made up a substantial part of the islands¿ population, saw their right to vote taken away.Lost Kingdom wants to place Lili¿uokalani as its central figure, but history dictates other figures take center stage before Lili¿uokalani gains the throne. Siler is rightly fascinated by Hawaii¿s queen (whose authorship of one of Hawaii¿s most famous songs ¿Aloha Oe¿ is among her many accomplishments), but that fascination sometimes leads to a less detailed portrayal of other monarchs or the sugar barons. The book is not an objective look at Hawaii¿s history; Siler tells the story from Hawaii¿s point of view. Claus Spreckels, Lorrin Thurston and other foreigners are clear villains, motivated by profit and not caring about the Hawaiian people. After reading Lost Kingdom, it¿s hard to argue otherwise, particularly in the case of Thurston who seemed to take personal pleasure in destroying the monarchy. One suspects another side of the story exists.Lost Kingdom is a worthwhile read for those interested in Hawaiian history and culture, America¿s expansion and how less powerful governments and people can be swept away by an economic tide. It¿s not a perfect book and readers truly interested in Hawaii should seek out a more balanced book, but Siler¿s story is interesting.
Draak on LibraryThing 22 days ago
I found this book to be a fascinating look at Hawaiian history and the reign of Lili'uokalani and her family. Siler does such a good job with the characters and the story just seems to flow. If you are interested in Hawaii then this is the book for you. I won this from Goodreads.
dickmanikowski on LibraryThing 22 days ago
I'd known that Hawaii had been an independent country before becoming an American territory, and I can even remember when it became the 50th state. But I hadn't known the machinations behind the annexation.It's a complex story compressed into less than a century. The Kingdom of Hawaii was formed in 1810 when Kamahaha I unified first the Island of Hawaii and eventually all the Hawaiian Islands under a single government. Shortly after the Kingdom's establishment, Christian missionaries arrived and were highly successful in converting the native population. They were soon followed by entrepreneurs who recognized the value of the region's sugar cane to the burgeoning United States. By 1887, the monarchy was so far in debt to the sugar kings that King Kalakaua was forced to sign a new constitution that lessened his own power and the rights of the native Hawaiians.When his sister and successor, Queen Lili'uokalani announced in 1893 that she planned to implement a new constitution restoring those lost powers and rights, a group of businessmen of mainly European ancestry fomented a revolution to depose her and establish the Republic of Hawaii. But within five years, the new government engineered annexation by the United States rather than risk becoming part of either the British Empire or the growing German Empire.It's a fascinating story but, alas, a sloppily written book.
Copperskye on LibraryThing 22 days ago
"They came to do good and did well."A fascinating and detailed narrative account of the final years of the Hawaiian Monarchy. Siler does a quick run through of the first western contact, Captain Cook, and then the arrival of the missionaries, who brought not only religion, but reading, writing and printing presses. Their decendants, however, had more commerce than God in mind, and big sugar, by various means, managed to eventually gain control of the islands. The book focuses on King Kalakaua, Claus Spreckels and the descendants of the missionaries, the passing of the Bayonet Constitution, the overthrow and imprisonment of Queen Lili'uokalani, and her final attempts to regain her throne and her Kingdom before the islands were eventually annexed by the US in 1898. A moving, sympathetic story, well told.
oldbookswine on LibraryThing 22 days ago
Having known little about Hawaii I found this to be an great history of a state. Beginning with the founding of the Sandwich Islands to 1917 and the death of the queen the history has been researched in depth. With the coming of Christian missionaries native Hawaiians begin to lose their culture and their kingdom. Much as was done to the Native American on the continent was done on the islands. Best line of the book " they came to do good and did well.Another look at the history not told in history classes, this time focusing on the sugar industry and shipping and the total disregard for the native culture and society. Recommended
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very detailed, heartbreaking tale about the ending of Old Hawaii and its traditional chief system, at the treacherous hands of the United States. At times, the writing was textbook like but the emotional nature of the situation prevailed....and tears were always close to the surface. A must read!!!
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My place is nect result
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No poyo. *the penguin with its wizard hat on studies alex* penguin poyo.