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The 'Ukulele: A History [Paperback]

Jim Tranquada , John King
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: £17.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

15 July 2012
This is the first fully documented account of the history of the Ukulele as an iconic element of Hawaiian culture. The authors discuss the evolution of ukulele as a musical instrument from the origin in Madeira Island and also its central role in the diffusion of Hawaiian music in the United States. The work goes much beyond the usual ukulele as collectible approach and places the instrument in its social, political, and cultural contexts of Western Europe, Hawaii, and the US Mainland.

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The 'Ukulele: A History + Ukulele Heroes: The Golden Years + The Martin Ukulele: The Little Instrument That Helped Create a Guitar Giant
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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press (15 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0824836340
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824836344
  • Product Dimensions: 25.3 x 18 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 385,057 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb scholarship and really readable text 2 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
So you have an illness, feel unwell? Who do you go and see...hopefully a medical professional who can diagnose and get you well asap. It's the same here, you want to know about the history of the ukulele? Then you can do no better than picking up this volume..Tranquada and King quite simply are professionals who know what they're talking about. The book is scholarly yet very readable, even the appendices, notes and bibliography makes for interesting reading. It deserves more stars, but I can only give it five.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impeccable scholarship and a ton of fun to boot! 11 Jun 2012
By R. Sawyer - Published on
King and Tranquada worked for years on this book, and the love, care and devotion they put into it shine on every page. (The footnotes alone are worth the price of admission.) Even if you don't play 'ukulele -- heck, even if you have no interest in music at all -- you'll find this extremely-well researched effort to be a wonderfully entertaining trip through over 120 years of American and international history and culture. The reader effortlessly rides the "waves" of 'ukulele popularity and ubiquitous-ness that followed, or in many cases led, world-altering events such as the U.S.'s annexation of Hawaii, the commercial worlds' fairs of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, World War I, the Depresssion, World War II, and the successive emergences of popular sheet music, records, radio, television, and now the internet. While some of it is "old hat" (but really well-told old hat) for 'uke afficionados, a lot of the information is of the "who knew?" variety, including mention of the 'ukulele and professional baseball players, and the 'ukulele and the young Prince Edward (later Duke of Windsor). And very artfully and entertainingly written is how the 'ukulele, which once represented everything that was kitschy and co-opted about the Hawaiian Islands, later came to be a symbol of the emerging indigenous Hawaiian civil rights and social justice movement. Sadly, Mr. King -- himself a superb 'ukulele musician -- didn't live to see the book published, but his spirit certainly lives on in it. And if you're a non-musician who reads this book, my bet is that your next shopping stop after Amazon will be to your local 'ukulele store.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars At last! 4 July 2012
By Ravenscrag - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
To anyone who is passionate about the history of the Hawaiian Ukulele, this book is the book
you have been waiting for. It is a fitting memorial to John King's extraordinary dedication
in mapping out the Journey of the ukulele's invention.

The detail of his research is forensic. The footnotes alone are completely invaluable to
any historian or enthusiast.

The internet is awash with potted histories which have little value and are full of inaccuracies.
Forget about them and enjoy a real authoritative and fascinating story of how
a diminutive four-stringed, figure of eight, koa wood chordophone conquered the world.

Congratulations to Jim Tranquada for seeing this project through.

Oh if only there were accompanying photographs of instruments by key makers!
For that you will have to seek out a copy of the Tony Ku Collection or visit
The Ukulele Hall of Fame reference section.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fun, informative, and must-read for all `ukulele enthusiasts. 25 Jan 2013
By ohanaa - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The authors did an excellent job in compiling the foot-notes, bibliographies, and chronologies into an interesting format of relating the development and growth of the `ukulele and Hawaiian music in general, to the political and economic periods of Hawaii, as well as the concurrent periods on the mainland, Europe, and Asia. This book is a very useful resource and I have gifted my copy to my kumu `ukulele for use as a teaching tool for his many students.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive history of the beloved ukulele 23 Jan 2013
By M Cooper-Martinez - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a must have for anyone who plays the ukulele, or has any interest in learning about it and it's historical place in Hawaii history, and how it won over musicians the world over. Co-written by the great great grandson of famed ukulele maker Augusto Dias, who could ask for anything more? I am sending a copy to my sister as I write. Great reference material.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly the authoritative text 29 Nov 2012
By la - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Jim Tranquada and the late John King's depth of knowledge, personal immersion in ukulele culture and most of all superb writing make this book a pleasure. Even the most casual ukulele aficionado will feel the tradewinds blow and hear the dulcet strains of the "miniature guitar" as he turns the pages of "The Ukulele: A History." A wonderful resource for those interested in music history or island culture.
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