Top positive review
30 people found this helpful
READ this book!
on 25 August 2002
On moving into a new apartment a few years ago, I found this book left on a shelf as a welcome present. A note told me it was a "good read" though I was left untempted until I became ill a few months later. I read the whole book in less than two days and many times consequently.
It starts rather slowly with the description of Hawaii emerging as a volcanic entity. I actually enjoyed the first chapter more after I got to the middle of the book and read Chapter 1 again to refresh myself of the history that this island was built on.
The tale starts with the lives of those first pacific islanders and the worship of gods, idols and the volcanoes. The stories of this time are as fascinating and inextricably linked to the future stories of immigrants and struggle for identity that are found in the latter parts of the books.
I remember when I was a kid, seeing a film version of the missionary part of the story starring Julie Andrews and Richard Harris. However, being "Hollywood" it missed the even more fascinating second half of the book and the stories of the Chinese and the Japanese. It was a great dis-service to the book itself.
Michener, through excellent, visual and spellbinding characterisation, allows the reader to feel an intimate knowledge of the history of these beautiful islands.
It surveys the actions of the missionaries, hawaians, chinese and japanese through stories of economy-building, world war two, the position of the Japanese Americans, the awful stigma of leprosy, the fate of the original Hawaian Islanders and the mixing of all these peoples, albeit grudgingly on the part of some. The stories of the Americans , Japanese and the Chinese are fascinating in themselves even before they end up in Hawaii.
I am left with the belief that these people are real and that this is the real story of Hawaii. I am left furthermore with the feeling on having read the book that I know something about Hawaii that those who haven't read the book will never know.....
READ this book, it is fantastic.