Peter T. Young is a former director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources for the State of Hawai'i. He is also an avid historian, who studies the history of the Hawaiian Islands as far back as recorded history allows. His papers are well researched and fascinating. Read them on his website: http://totakeresponsibility.blogspot.com/
Movies & Videos
Picture Bride. In furtherance of my efforts to learn more about Hawai'i, I watched a movie about Japanese, Filipino, and Portuguese immigrants who arrived in the Islands to work in the sugarcane fields in the early 20th century. Entitled Picture Bride, it tells of a 16-year-old orphan whose aunt arranges for her to marry a man who works in the sugarcane fields of Hawai'i. She knows nothing about what to expect, least of all what marriage is about. It isn't long before she is working a second job, doing laundry, in a virtually futile effort to raise money for her return to Japan. Little by little, she comes to accept her new situation in life and the 43-year-old man who is her husband.
Picture Bride received numerous nominations and several wins for its portrayal of that difficult time in the lives of Hawaiian immigrants.
Three familiar faces appear in the movie. Toshiro Mifule, who appeared in both the movie and television series Shogun and in the movie Midway, appears as the Benshi;Moe Keale, who appeared in 29 episodes of Hawaii Five-0 and portrayed Detective Truck Kealoha in Season 12, appears as a Hawaiian fisherman and is heard singing. In real life, Moe Keale enjoyed great popularity as a singer and entertainer. Glenn Cannon, who appeared in 32 episodes of Hawaii Five-0 and portrayed District Attorney John Manicote in 29 of those episodes, appears as the plantation owner, Pieper.
Picture Bride is available on Netflix.
Goodbye Paradise. From our own Joe Moore, executive producer and star, comes Goodbye Paradise. This 1991 independent film is available only in VHS copy. I think it should be re-released on DVD, but then, I also want to know why it didn’t win awards. It truly is of award-winning quality.
I'll admit I only bought Goodbye Paradise, because most of the actors are former Hawaii Five-0 cast members: Joe Moore, Elissa Dulce, James Hong, Danny Kamekona, Dennis Chun, and even the voice of Kam Fong Chun (our own Chin Ho). Did I ever get more than I had expected!
It's not often that a movie captivates me, but this one did. It made me cry. Why? Because it is true to life. So, what about it, Executive Producer Joe Moore? How about re-releasing this on DVD -- with closed captioning, please. One won't want to miss a single line of dialogue. It tells the tale.
Read more about the Pantheon Bar in this article by historian Peter T. Young: http://totakeresponsibility.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2014-01-01T00:00:00-10:00&updated-max=2015-01-01T00:00:00-10:00&max-results=50
Hawaii, the 50th State (1959). See Hawai'i as it appeared at the time of statehood. You'll see that there have been a few changes. http://youtu.be/kP1GchaSO1A
5-Day Tour of the Island of Hawai'i. You'll recognize some of the sites from "Tread the King's Shadow" and "Descent of the Torches." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z53Lspr9Okg
Titus, Heather (photographer) and Rachel Marquard (writer). Passion & Beauty: Hawaiian Proverbs, Poetical Sayings, and The Spirit of the People. Kailua: Hawaiian Lotus, 2004.
Williams, Kenny (photographer) and Raylene Dela Cruz-Among (narrative). A Viewbook of the Beautiful Island of Oahu. Available through The Islander Group. 269 Pali`i Street. Mililani, Hawai`i 96789.
Boyland, Dan and T. Michael Holmes. John A. Burns: the Man and His Times.
Governor John A. Burns (1962-1974) had a new state to build, and it did not come easily. Not everyone favored statehood. Even more did not favor the influx of mainlanders, who wanted to turn Honolulu into just another major metropolitan American city. To his detriment, Gov. Burns was born on the Mainland. To his credit, he had lived in Hawai`i since boyhood. He graduated from Hawaiian schools and served in the Honolulu Police Department, first as a patrolman and then as a detective. Five-0 fans will be particularly interested in Gov. Burns, because he is largely responsible for Five-0. He wanted such a law enforcement agency for the State of Hawai`i but could not put the plan through the legislature. He did put the plan to Leonard Freeman, who jumped at the idea.
Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press, 2000. ISBN-10 (cloth): 0-8248-2277-3. ISBN-10 (paperback): 0-4248-2282-x
Lili`uokalani. Hawai`i’s Story by Hawai`i’s Queen
Queen Lili`uokalani wrote a history of the Hawaiian Islands spanning the reign of King Kamehameha I until the fall of the Kingdom of Hawai`i, including Her Majesty’s childhood, marriage to John Owen Dominis, ascension to the throne, and incarceration in `Iolani Palace. Written in the first person, it goes into considerable detail about her brother’s, King David Kalakaua’s, reign, as well as her travels to Washington, Boston, New York, and England. (Thanks to SG for suggesting this book.)
Reissued by the University of Hawaii Press, 2014 (as per an announcement by 'Iolani Palace on Facebook, 29 January 2014)
Reissued by Wildside Press (Rockville, MD), 2009. ISBN-10: -1-4344-0816-7, ISBN-13: 978-1434408167.
Complete text and photographs as originally published by Lee and Shepard (Boston, 1898) can be viewed online.
Low, Sam. Hawaiki Rising. Honolulu: Island Heritage Publishing, 2013. ISBN-10: 1617102008. ISBN-13: 978-1617102004
“Hawaiki Rising is the unpublished story of the Hokule'a and the men and women who sailed in the wake of their ancestors to discover pride in their culture and themselves.”
Author Sam Low has been active with “these first Hawaiians to navigate the Pacific without charts or instruments in a thousand years...” since its conception in 1973, and has sailed on three of their voyages.
Allen, Gwenfread. Hawaii's War Years: 1941-1945.
DeSoto Brown, a scholar of World War II in Hawai'i describes this book as "the definitive account of this crucial period of Hawaiian history." Scholar John J. Stephan writes, "All students of wartime Hawaii should start here." Besides delving into the military issues, Hawaii's War Years delves into the problems Hawai'i encountered, including food shortages and the sudden influx of mainlanders, who as soldiers, quite literally took over the islands.
Paperback. Kailua: Pacific Monograph (1999 reprint) / University of Hawai'i Press (1950). ISBN-10: 0962922722. ISBN-13: 978-0962922725
Kneubuhi, Victoria Nalani. Aliiolani Hale, A Sentinel in Time.
This tells the history of the Ali`iolani Hale from its conception by King Kamehameha V to the present.
Paperback. Honolulu: Friends of the Judiciary, 2000. ISBN-10: 0961923415
MacLeod, A. S. The Spirit of Hawaii: Before and After Pearl Harbor.
Sam MacLeod was an artist, who moved to Hawai`i from the Pacific Northwest in the 1920s, when Hawai`i was still Hawaiian. Over the next twenty years, he traveled about O`ahu, making sketches, paintings, and lithographs of the scenery and the people. His works show the people tending to their taro patches and using ti leaves to coax fish closer to the shore, where they could be caught. He compiled a collection of his work, together with a narrative that allows us to see how Hawai`i was and how the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor changed everything.
Hardback. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1943. ASIN: B0000EF6GL. This book is out of print, but copies are available from a private seller through Amazon.
Paperback 1st edition. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1943. ASIN: B0007E4G68. This book is out of print, but copies are available from a private seller through Amazon.
Paperback Water Colors, Lithographs and Drawings. New York: Harper & Brothers, no publication date given. ASIN: B001G3J2RM. This book is out of print, but copies are available from a private seller through Amazon.
Morgenstern, George. Pearl Harbor: The Story of the Secret War
Recommended by SG, who writes, "It was published in 1947, when everything was very fresh in the minds of people."
1st Edition Hardback. New York: Delvin-Adair Co., 1947. ASIN: B001RRK1DIE. This book is out of print but can be purchased from a private seller through Amazon.
Reissued Paperback. London: Institute for Historical Review, 1991. ASIN: B0011MO994. This book is out of print but can be purchased from a private seller through Amazon.
Simpson, MacKinnon. A Century of Aloha: The Creation of Modern Honolulu 1905-2005. Honolulu: Mutual Publishing, 2006.
Twain, Mark. Mark Twain: Letters From Hawaii
Recommended by Nadja, who writes, "One can learn a lot about Hawai`i's history, and it's very entertaining, also."
In 1866, when Hawai`i was still a kingdom, steamships still had not completely replaced sailing ships, and Samuel Langhorne Clemens was only just becoming known as Mark Twain, he spent four months in Hawai`i. He sent articles about his explorations home to San Francisco to be published in the newspaper. This book is a collection of those articles.
He takes a direct approach, saying what is on his mind, and the first part of his trip did not win him over. The voyage was a rough one with high seas and strong winds. Honolulu offered little more than a million cats and even more mosquitoes and centipedes.
Once Twain left O`ahu, however, and discovered the islands of Maui and Hawai`i (Big Island), his opinions changed. He liked what he found, from the retreat at Haleakala, a dormant volcano on Maui, to the Volcano Inn in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Big Island, an inn that still exists to this day. He explored everything and met as many people as he possibly could, seeing the red glow of lava on his face and attending Princess Victoria's funeral in Honolulu.
He tells us about it all and makes us wish we could go and follow in his footsteps, just as he would later make us wish we could join Tom and Huck on their adventures along the Mississippi River.
I would tell the publisher that the Coronation Pavilion, which appears on the cover, was not constructed until 1883, nearly twenty years after Mr. Twain's visit.
Hardback. New York: Chatto and Windus, 1967. ASIN: B000S21B20. This book is out of print but can be purchased from a private seller through Amazon.
Paperback. Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press, 1975. ISBN-10: 0824802888. ISBN-13: 978-0824802882.
Davenport, Kiana. Song of the Exile.
Although a novel, Song of the Exile provides an inside look into the lives of the Hawaiian people during a twenty-year period from World War II to statehood. It centers around Meahuna, who struggles, first, to make his place as a musician in an environment where musician is more the hired help than the artist. The war tears him apart from the woman he loves, and he struggles to find her and put his life back together. This story is sure to hold your attention from page one to the end and to tear at your heart strings all along the way.
New York: Ballantine Books, 1999.ISBN-10: 0-345-43494-3
Gilman, Peter. Diamond Head
The story takes place just before statehood was granted to Hawai`i, and it describes how problems with the pineapple grower’s union nearly jeopardized Hawai`i becoming a state. In addition, it tells of the problems of inter-cultural marriage and follows the eruption of Mauna Loa volcano. A line reads, “The wonderful thing about volcanoes is that their grace is still savage and pure and cannot be either defended against or contaminated by man.” (Thanks to SG for recommending this book and providing the basis for this synopsis.)
New York: Signet, 1963 (paperback). ASIN B000XD0CES. Out of print. Used hardcopy and paperback copies are available from independent sellers through Amazon. A film version is available, as well.
Hogue, Bob. Sands of Lanikai.
Historical fiction, "Sands of Lanikai" is one of those rare books that you just can't put down. Set along Kailua Bay, between Kane`ohe Naval Air Station (now Kane`ohe Marine Corps Base) and Lanikai Beach, it provides a delicious slice of agrarian life as it existed in the region before World War II introduced Hawai`i to the mainlanders. The story is a mix of mystery, adventure, and romance, with a Japanese spy sneaking ashore under the dark of night, an elderly Hawaiian woman whose memories go back to the reign of Queen Lili`uokalani, and enough subtle nuances to make even the innocent appear guilty.
Look carefully, and you'll pick up on unexpected details; for example, the HPD detective is Jack Burns. Yep! That's real life Governor John A. Burns (1962-1974) before he entered politics. According to the author notes, the much-beloved governor's son gave the author permission to include his father in his pre-political days as a fictitious character. Here, he helps a young man discover why his grandfather was killed aboard ship as it docked in Honolulu Harbor. The medical examiner's name is Frank Dillingham, while in real life, Frank Dillingham grew sugarcane in Hawai`i and built some of Hawai`i's finest buildings.
Author Bob Hogue gives us enormous insight into the history of Hawai`i and, in particular, windward O`ahu. He talks about how places received their names, tells of such Hawaiian legends as the blossoms of the hau tree leading lovers back to one another, and paints vivid pictures of the landscape and the people, as well as the places that now are too quickly becoming a concrete jungle.
This is the best book I have read in a very long time. I recommend it to everyone, whether a lover of good mystery or a scholar of Hawaiian history. It draws you in and holds you, page after page and chapter after chapter. (Many thanks to SG for bringing this gem to our attention)
Honolulu: Island Heritage Publishing, 2009. ISBN-10: 1597008737. ISBN-13: 978-1597008730. Available new or used from popular online booksellers.
Michener, James. Hawaii.
Steve’s Girl writes, “This is an epic novel that spans from the times the Hawai'ian Islands rose from the Pacific to the 1960s, covering the times of Hawai'i's settlement, the times of the missionaries, how and why the Chinese and Japanese workers were brought to the islands, Pearl Harbor and up to the Sixties. It's not only entertaining, but offers a lot of information about the history of Hawai'i.”
If the United States is a melting pot, then Hawai`i can only be said to be the ultimate melting pot. It all began more than a thousand years ago, when the Polynesians arrived in the islands. For eight hundred years, they lived, undisturbed, according to their own customs and values. In the late-1700s, Capt James Cook arrived from England, and in the early 1800s, the missionaries arrived from the United States. They were followed by settlers from other parts of Europe and Asia. Over the next century (and, in many ways, continuing today), these varied people and their varied customs and values struggled to learn how to live together without surrendering their own identities. Such is the story of Hawaii, first published in 1959, when Hawai`i became one of the United States.
New York: Random House, 1959 (first edition). ASIN: B000FN90VC.
New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2002. ISBN-10: 0-3757-6037-2, ISBN-13: 978-0375760372
Wisniewski, Richard A. Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial: A Pictorial History. Honolulu: Pacific Basin Enterprises, 2007.
“Looking for the Real Captain Cook”
in Colonial Williamsburg, Winter 2012
Author Susan Berg writes about Captain James Cook, the retired English naval officer, who explored the Pacific Ocean and became the first European to discover the islands now known as the State of Hawai‘i. He named the islands the Sandwich Isles after the Earl of Sandwich.
The article studies Cook’s third voyage, which commenced on July 12, 1776, a voyage from which the captain did not return. On February 14, 1779, Hawaiians on the island of Hawai‘i killed him. This article asks why. After all, on his second voyage, Cook had enjoyed splendid rapport with the Hawaiians on Kaua‘i. Indeed, the stop on the Big Island began well, but, then, something went seriously wrong.
Ms. Berg asks the questions that have been asked down through the years:
Did he die a hero or a murderer of native peoples? Were his accomplishments a catalyst for scientific progress and economic prosperity or a death knell for an established Pacific culture: the introduction of venereal disease, exploitation, and evangelical missionaries intent on transferring their beliefs and values.
To try and decipher it all, Ms. Berg turned to published accounts of that fateful voyage. Some accounts were official, written for the Crown, while others were accounts written by members of the captain’s crew.
Two especially interesting points emerged: First, Captain Cook’s personality seemed to change. Whereas, on his earlier voyages and, indeed, earlier on this voyage, he had been a warm and gracious greeter of the Hawaiian people, at some point, he seems to have turned 180 degrees and become “prone to repeated outbursts of temper and excessive punishment of seamen’s transgressions and natives’ acts of petty theft.” Second, upon Cook’s arrival, the Hawaiians robed him like royalty and seated him on a throne; yet, they later killed him.
We can’t know why the good captain’s personality changed. Perhaps, he was ill? Perhaps, he was growing old and tired? We may never know. We can understand why the Hawaiians’ attitude toward the captain changed, for this report ties in well with what we already knew, that the Hawaiians thought Captain Cook was their god Lono and killed him when they realized that he was not.
In any case, it is fascinating reading to see how the final voyage of Captain James Cook was seen through the eyes of those who served under him and recorded in their official and unofficial reports.
See a picture of Captain Cook's experience as recorded by his official artist, John Webber:
The Death of Captain Cook. http://www.ourspace.tepapa.com/media/163
Berg, Susan. “Looking for the Real Captain Cook” in Colonial Williamsburg: The Journal of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Vol. XXXIV, No. 1, Winter 2012, pp. 61-65.