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Gavan Daws' remarkable achievement is to free Hawaiian history from the dust of antiquity. Based on years of work in the documentary sources, Shoal of Time emerges as the most readable of all Hawaiian histories.


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Gavan Daws' remarkable achievement is to free Hawaiian history from the dust of antiquity. Based on years of work in the documentary sources, Shoal of Time emerges as the most readable of all Hawaiian histories.

30 review for Shoal of Time: A History of the Hawaiian Islands

  1. 5 out of 5

    Scot

    This book is widely considered to be the definitive text when it comes to the modern history of Hawai'i. Certainly, no other text attempts to take on such a broad swathe of history in such detail. If you're interested in the history of Hawai'i and/or the imperialist history of the U.S. in the Pacific, Shoal of Time is a must read. However, beware, I found that the book has some pretty big flaws. First of all, every historical account can only be told from the perspective of the historian who tell This book is widely considered to be the definitive text when it comes to the modern history of Hawai'i. Certainly, no other text attempts to take on such a broad swathe of history in such detail. If you're interested in the history of Hawai'i and/or the imperialist history of the U.S. in the Pacific, Shoal of Time is a must read. However, beware, I found that the book has some pretty big flaws. First of all, every historical account can only be told from the perspective of the historian who tells it, and this historian is definitely one who has an "all's well that ends well" point of view about the colonization of Hawai'i and all that was lost in the process. In addition there are some historical inaccuracies and exclusions that make a real difference to one's understanding of just what, exactly, happened here. On the second point, Daws gives short shrift to what many refer to as the "Great Dying," the historical sweep of 80 or so years during which more than 95% of the Hawaiian people died, due largely to contracting diseases brought to Hawai'i by it's colonizers and to which Hawaiians had no immunity. This catastrophe could not but have shaped the worldview of the Hawaiian people, including our relationship to our religion and religious leaders, opening the doors to many significant changes that are presented as though they were easily chosen by Hawaiians. For instance, when everyone around you is dying, you might think your gods were failing you, making the notion of trying on a new god or two kind of appealing, especially when the missionaries bringing you the word of said god are taking advantage of the situation and suggesting that you are all dying of sin. Also on this point, Daws at one juncture suggests that plantation life in Hawai'i was similar to that of the antebellum southeastern U.S. but for, though not in so many words, the slavery and threats to white women by black men causing unrest and acts of retaliation like lynchings. I accept that slavery is different than peonage, which is more along the lines of what immigrant workers experienced in Hawai'i, but the notion that lynchings in the south were acts of retaliation is just b.s. The whole notion of the sexually depraved black man is a myth created by white men in the south in order to justify acts of violence that were really committed in order to intimidate slaves and prevent them from rebelling (not to mention subsequent generations of African Americans in order to quell challenges to white supremacy). I'd call that a pretty big gaff, and one that reveals a lot about the Daws point of view on issues of race. That point of view comes across now and then throughout, though I believe unintentionally. But, again, all in all, no other book goes as far, nor into as much detail, at least where English language resources are concerned, as this one. For a history of Hawai'i that delves into Hawaiian language resources which tell a very different story, check out Aloha Betrayed by Noenoe Silva in my books.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    4.5 star review. If you want to gain insight into the extraordinary human diversity of Hawaii, this is a fantastic read. This one volume history, now 40 years old, covers Hawaii from Captain Cook’s arrival to Barack Obama’s birth. I found the book to be highly informative and very well written. Because it covers so much, the stories are at best vignettes but there are so many nationalities represented in Hawaii’s history that it is absorbing. The middle to latter portions of the book are well doc 4.5 star review. If you want to gain insight into the extraordinary human diversity of Hawaii, this is a fantastic read. This one volume history, now 40 years old, covers Hawaii from Captain Cook’s arrival to Barack Obama’s birth. I found the book to be highly informative and very well written. Because it covers so much, the stories are at best vignettes but there are so many nationalities represented in Hawaii’s history that it is absorbing. The middle to latter portions of the book are well documented, the earlier portions are thinly referenced but that is to be expected. If you want to understand the role that the missionaries played or if you want to know what a horrible person Sanford Dole was, this book tells some relatable stories. While the book is not written from a native Hawaiian perspective it harbors a good deal of disdain for the white American imperialists, justifiably I might add. Otherwise 5 stars, but a little dated.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bruce

    "Shoal of Time" is an "ok" introduction to Hawaiian history, thorough in some areas, but glaringly thin and/or dated in others. Only recommended for background reading as part of a broader palette of histories, texts and cultural texts offering differing viewpoints. Other books and historical texts that I recommend for a more complete cultural and historical view include: "The Voices of Eden" All Volumes of "The Hawaiian Journal of History" (Hawaiian Historical Society) "For Whom the Stars" "Must We "Shoal of Time" is an "ok" introduction to Hawaiian history, thorough in some areas, but glaringly thin and/or dated in others. Only recommended for background reading as part of a broader palette of histories, texts and cultural texts offering differing viewpoints. Other books and historical texts that I recommend for a more complete cultural and historical view include: "The Voices of Eden" All Volumes of "The Hawaiian Journal of History" (Hawaiian Historical Society) "For Whom the Stars" "Must We Wait in Dispair?" Anything written by Mary Kawena Pukui but particularly including: "The Hawaiian Dictionary" "The Polynesian Family System in Kaʻu" "Place Names of Hawaii" Handy, Handy and Pukuiʻs "Native Planters in Old Hawaii" "The Fornander collection of Hawaiian Antiquities and Folklore", Volumes IV, V and VI Anything written by Samual Kamakau but particularly: "Ruling Chiefs of Hawaiʻi" Anything written by Patrick Vinton Kirch but particularly: "On the Road of the Winds" "A Shark Going Inland Is My Chief: The Island Civilization of Ancient Hawaiʻi" "The Evolution of Polynesian Chiefdoms" "Unwritten Literature of Hawaii" "Hawaiiʻs Forgotten History" "Voyage of Rediscovery" "An Ocean in Mind" "We the Navigators" "Nā Inoa Hōkū" "Presstime in Hawaii" Bishop Museum Bulletins Iʻm missing a ton of other titles and authors that should be on this list including several covering the plantation era, post-world war II and Hawaiian renaissance but the above is not a bad start.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey

    Hands-down the best one-volume political history of modern Hawaii ever written. It's difficult to write a history of the islands since Captain Cook's arrival through US annexation and statehood without "taking sides" in the struggle between the natives and haoles - and the book's point of view definitely does have its clear heroes and villains - but Daws makes an honest effort to provide context for all the warring factions in the book and avoids turning it into a one-sided screed as it could ha Hands-down the best one-volume political history of modern Hawaii ever written. It's difficult to write a history of the islands since Captain Cook's arrival through US annexation and statehood without "taking sides" in the struggle between the natives and haoles - and the book's point of view definitely does have its clear heroes and villains - but Daws makes an honest effort to provide context for all the warring factions in the book and avoids turning it into a one-sided screed as it could have been. Two warnings to prospective readers. One - this is a political history, not a cultural one, so don't read it to learn about native customs and traditions. Second - the paperback edition has no pictures, maps or illustrations; and this is a book that would deeply benefit from having them. These caveats aside, the book is highly recommended to anyone with an interest in the history of Hawaii from 1778 to statehood in 1959.

  5. 4 out of 5

    James

    After living in Hawaii for 4 years, I got sick of not being able to answer questions from friends and family about the history of the islands. I was looking for a readable book that would take me from Captain Cook to statehood, which is exactly what Daws has written. When I was looking for books, a found a few reviews of this volume that said it was biased against Native Hawaiians, so I was cautious when I started reading. After getting through a few chapters, I realized that the problem is not t After living in Hawaii for 4 years, I got sick of not being able to answer questions from friends and family about the history of the islands. I was looking for a readable book that would take me from Captain Cook to statehood, which is exactly what Daws has written. When I was looking for books, a found a few reviews of this volume that said it was biased against Native Hawaiians, so I was cautious when I started reading. After getting through a few chapters, I realized that the problem is not that Daws is unfair to Native Hawaiians, but that he is brutally honest about all parties involved in Hawaii's complex history. For every time he points out a poor political decision made by the Hawaiian monarchy, he also makes sure to note that many of the white business men were racist, self-interested, and narrow-minded. Rather than take sides, Daws seems interested in helping the reader understand that the annexation and Americanization of Hawaii was not as black and white as people today like to think. He does a good job exploring the complex and long-lasting relationship between Hawaiians and Europeans and explaining how the intersection of multiple political motivations resulted in statehood. Regardless of how you feel about Hawaii's history, this book is a good read. Daws paints the picture of a thriving, impressive culture that is (perhaps prematurely) thrust on to the Western political stage and forced to adapt. Both good and bad come of it, and I think any student interested in Hawaiian history should read this book if only to understand that the path to take was not always obvious, and that the characters involved were not inherently good or inherently bad.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Terry Brooks

    Shoal is the history of the Kings of Hawaii from Kamehameha 1 to the end of the monarchy in the late 1900s. The story is true, but the events are incredible and compelling. How the Hawaiian Islands were discovered and eventually subverted by the US and the European powers makes for great storytelling.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tarah

    ...well... it's thorough. The main issue here (and other good-readers have raised this) is that the author is extremely and unmistakably on the side of empire. Like, almost comically so. It's like if you watched Star Wars but it was told from the perspective of Darth Vader explaining how the Empire is just trying to bring order to things, really, and sure it doesn't go well for the locals all the times, but in the end it really was for ordered good, and their local customs/religion/traditions we ...well... it's thorough. The main issue here (and other good-readers have raised this) is that the author is extremely and unmistakably on the side of empire. Like, almost comically so. It's like if you watched Star Wars but it was told from the perspective of Darth Vader explaining how the Empire is just trying to bring order to things, really, and sure it doesn't go well for the locals all the times, but in the end it really was for ordered good, and their local customs/religion/traditions were backwards before we got there and sorted it out, etc. I mean, *I'd* watch that movie, but it sure does have a certain angle. Take his description of what is widely and commonly called (by historians, Hawaiians, laypeople... like everyone) the "Bayonet Constitution" because King Kalakaua was forced to sign it basically under gunpoint. Not only does he not mention the "bayonet constitution” and really underplay the forced nature of the event, but the entire episode is under the chapter entitled "bulwarks of Liberty" (referencing the white folks who sought and forced the new constitution)-- soooo that gives you a sense of who's side we're on there. In describing (one of the many) takeover(s) of the Native government essentially by white pineapple and sugar barons, he says "So good government triumphed" and calls them "the well-intentioned revolutionaries" -- I actually snorted out loud. The chapters on the union activity on the plantation read like union-busting brochures. And in describing the anti-communist, McCarthy -era "anti-American" commission activities in Hawaii (during which loads of people were arrested and imprisoned for being suspected communists with little to no evidence), it reads a bit like "well, you know, communism was scary, so there you have it.” Additionally, phrasing like "the Orientals" can be extremely jarring-- though maybe when it was originally published that was seen as acceptable language-- but, like, errrrr.... was it? All in all: it is thorough, but the author has a very obvious bias, so —- is it thorough? What info has been excluded? Whose stories are not being told? Whose voices aren’t represented? I have a guess...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Cora

    it took me ages to finish this, but at least i didn't take a whole year (yikes) I am truly amazed this book even exists to be honest - and I'm sure the copies of it are rare, so it's even more incredible I had the chance to read it at all. The writing is deeply moving for me, a perfect blend of humor and striking truth that exposes the beauty and brutality of Hawaiian history in a way I would never have expected. It's a shame it was published in 1974, since I'd love to know more contemporary hist it took me ages to finish this, but at least i didn't take a whole year (yikes) I am truly amazed this book even exists to be honest - and I'm sure the copies of it are rare, so it's even more incredible I had the chance to read it at all. The writing is deeply moving for me, a perfect blend of humor and striking truth that exposes the beauty and brutality of Hawaiian history in a way I would never have expected. It's a shame it was published in 1974, since I'd love to know more contemporary history as well.. but the amount of research for the time span is phenomenal - so much detail is put into this history that at any moment you feel completely at home in the narrative, as if it was just a carefully crafted plot instead of real events. also! reading it in hawaii was even more interesting since it made me so much more aware of the impact of Hawaiian history on the land today. (ex: the names of places like Dillingham Airfield or seeing the impact of big industries).

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kara

    This might be the original "comprehensive" history of Hawaii, but boy is it a dull and tedious read. I did appreciate how much ground Daws tries to cover, as many other Hawaiian histories focus on the short-lived monarchy and the period of annexation, whereas he covers the pre-Captain Cook era through the granting of statehood post-WWII. However, his monotonous litany of facts, unbroken by nary an interesting anecdote, made it difficult to absorb the information or concentrate on the text for lo This might be the original "comprehensive" history of Hawaii, but boy is it a dull and tedious read. I did appreciate how much ground Daws tries to cover, as many other Hawaiian histories focus on the short-lived monarchy and the period of annexation, whereas he covers the pre-Captain Cook era through the granting of statehood post-WWII. However, his monotonous litany of facts, unbroken by nary an interesting anecdote, made it difficult to absorb the information or concentrate on the text for long periods of time. I also found Daws' skimming of certain historical periods a strange decision; Liliuokalani is only given a bit part, for example. Perhaps his treatment of Liliuokalani is symptomatic of his necessarily limited perspective as a white male writer; indeed, I found Daws' treatment of non-white and/or female historical figures problematic, as many of them are presented as caricatures, or (in the case of the women) hardly acknowledged at all. If you're trying to see how scholars have documented Hawaiian history differently through the ages, your sort of have to read this book. But if you're just a regular reader looking to know more about the history of Hawaii, I'm sure you can find a less biased (and more entertaining!) modern read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    David Bjelland

    Considering that I was born there, my mom's side of the family has lived there for multiple generations, and I have a Hawaiian middle name, I can't help but feel shamefully overdue in finally seeking out a substantial history of the place, and this book happened to present itself the last time I was back at my parent's house and browsing around for something to read (it was a gift to my Mom from her librarian at Punahou, when the book was still fairly new). It's one thing not to be curious for s Considering that I was born there, my mom's side of the family has lived there for multiple generations, and I have a Hawaiian middle name, I can't help but feel shamefully overdue in finally seeking out a substantial history of the place, and this book happened to present itself the last time I was back at my parent's house and browsing around for something to read (it was a gift to my Mom from her librarian at Punahou, when the book was still fairly new). It's one thing not to be curious for so long about a place whose history is inseparable from that of your own family, but the more nagging motivation for eventually hunting something like this down might honestly be plain-old white guilt - the knowledge that my recent ancestors were complicit in the gradual, mundane domination of the native Hawaiians, sitting uneasily in the back of my mind since the onset of Political Awareness Puberty. It seems appropriate and necessary that at some point I should figure out what that process really looked like, but alas, Shoal of Time is no People's History of Hawaii, for better or worse. Daws possesses what's normally considered an admirable sense of personal removal from his topic, and while I wouldn't necessarily call him an apologist for imperialism in the Hawaiian Islands, he does treat some of the graver injustices with an analytical, fatalistic tone that's hard to distinguish from tacit approval. On the plus side: gee whiz does this guy know how to hunt down documents. If it seems like he has no personal opinions on certain characters or events, it's because he doesn't *have* to to fill up a dense, 400 pg. book, relying instead on a stupifying body of diaries, letters, diplomatic cables, court proceedings, pamphlets, etc. (...Or maybe that's where the bar for most historians is, and I just don't read enough of the broad, thorough, non-pop stuff? Will have to work on that). Nonetheless, a unique and perceptive critical voice still sneaks in between the cracks of all the citations; one that's content to poke at human folly without getting its feathers ruffled over it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    surfurbian

    Damn that was a long book. I enjoyed the ancient history the most as that is where my interests are. Even still it is useful to have read this book as a way of understanding Hawaiian culture today and much of the animosity directed at Haoles.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Beth Cato

    Shoal of Time may be tedious at times, but it's also incredibly comprehensive and fascinating. It took me weeks to make it through this book, and in the process, I created dozens of bookmarks for research purposes. The approach of the book feels very fair in its treatment of haoles (whites), native Hawaiians, and the islands' history of misunderstanding, racism, and political corruption. It goes into detail on the first arrivals of foreigners, to Kamehameha, to the takeover of haoles and sugar c Shoal of Time may be tedious at times, but it's also incredibly comprehensive and fascinating. It took me weeks to make it through this book, and in the process, I created dozens of bookmarks for research purposes. The approach of the book feels very fair in its treatment of haoles (whites), native Hawaiians, and the islands' history of misunderstanding, racism, and political corruption. It goes into detail on the first arrivals of foreigners, to Kamehameha, to the takeover of haoles and sugar companies and American annexation, to the attack on Pearl Harbor, to Hawaii gaining statehood. I had no idea that statehood was delayed for years because Hawaii, with its heavy populations of "foreigners" and union labor, was regarded as a hotbed of communism. The book contains a lot of interesting data like that. While the book did require skimming in spots, it was a good read overall, and I can see why it has stayed in print for decades.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Luke Peterson

    I bought this book back in 2004 while I was in Honolulu, laid up with terrible sunburn. It is THE book on Hawaiian history since their "discovery", tracing the political and cultural history of the islands from their first western contact to the modern day. If flying to Honolulu from the east coast, you're going to be on a plane for 12 hours and you'll likely be wide awake. Read this book, your tour guides aren't that complicated. Also, for terrific and cheap surfing lessons anywhere on Oahu, cal I bought this book back in 2004 while I was in Honolulu, laid up with terrible sunburn. It is THE book on Hawaiian history since their "discovery", tracing the political and cultural history of the islands from their first western contact to the modern day. If flying to Honolulu from the east coast, you're going to be on a plane for 12 hours and you'll likely be wide awake. Read this book, your tour guides aren't that complicated. Also, for terrific and cheap surfing lessons anywhere on Oahu, call my groovy buddy Roger: 808-734-4558 (cell). Aloha!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Pulaski

    Don't read this if you are white and want to enjoy Hawaii. It may very well take all the joy out of it for you. Very well chronicled and very acurate. There is a byast against the white man, (for good reason.) Written by an Australian used as a Text book in Hawaiian History classes today but reads like a novel.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Steven Kent

    Gavan Daws knows his Hawaiian history and he knows how to write. Shoal of Time is a mesmerizing survey of Hawaiian history from the days of Kamehameha to the modern era. This is not the most detailed look at Hawaiian history, but it is a reader-friendly introduction to a long and fascinating tale.

  16. 4 out of 5

    jim

    Dated but, in its day, simply the best introduction to the sald bowl in the Islands.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Dan McCarthy

    It was mostly a political history of Hawaii. Information I am glad I now know, but not very entertaining.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Philip Waikoloa

    Too politically-focused. Not a good look at the Hawaiian people and culture.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Eduardo Santiago

    What an infuriating book. We humans can be so vile. Daws gives us a human-centered history of the Hawaiian islands: page one is Captain Cook. Do not expect geology or prehistory here; in fact not even geography—there’s not a single map in the book, requiring me to refer to online sources frequently just to avoid getting too lost. Daws does well to narrow his focus: merely between 1778 and 1959 there’s enough material to, um, oh yeah there’s a saying about that. A side note: can one call it a histo What an infuriating book. We humans can be so vile. Daws gives us a human-centered history of the Hawaiian islands: page one is Captain Cook. Do not expect geology or prehistory here; in fact not even geography—there’s not a single map in the book, requiring me to refer to online sources frequently just to avoid getting too lost. Daws does well to narrow his focus: merely between 1778 and 1959 there’s enough material to, um, oh yeah there’s a saying about that. A side note: can one call it a history if the author is clearly biased? I dare say there will be missionaries, bigots, politicians and businessmen who take offense at their representation here; they have my thoughts and prayers. (Isn’t that so much nicer than “bless their hearts”?) I found Daws’s tone welcome. He comes off as ethical, moral, with no patience for hypocrisy bullying racism or corruption. His biases match mine to a decent extent; and let’s face it, what history isn’t partial? Some just hide theirs, often by hiding important facts. Digs and all, I get the feeling Daws paints a fair picture. Now to the substance: the hypocrisy, bullying, racism, corruption I mentioned fill nearly every page. And it’s not just the haoles: it seems like every featherless biped getting just the slightest bit of power ends up tainted; over and over, those appointed / elected / thrust into responsibility end up abusing their charges. It’s almost as if Lord Acton’s maxim had some truth to it. One aspect I loved about Daws is that he’s judgmental where it’s merited, but nonjudgmental where it isn’t: he often extols native Hawaiians' kindness, tolerance, acceptance, even sexual mores—basically, everything the preacher-types deplored, Daws speaks highly or at least acceptingly of. (Again, he does not romanticize the Noble Savage: many natives come off poorly under his scrutiny. And he does twice use “loose ways” in reference to native Hawaiian womens’ sexual practices; but given the entire other context of the book, I’m going to take “loose” as a sixtiesism that did not age well.) I think I would like Daws. I don’t often quote excerpts, and this review has grown quite long already. Tough. Here are three lines I found memorable: Referring to missionaries circa 1830s, wanting to grow their churches but not always accepting natives as members: They [the missionaries] prided themselves on being able to detect the most cleverly concealed of doubtful motives, and very few natives managed to convince them that their sense of guilt was really satisfactory. Let that sink in a moment. And reflect on a conversation I had just five days ago, with a friend from town whose house burned down in the Cerro Grande fire. Said friend is a Unitarian, and met a fellow Unitarian at one of the post-file insurance events. “Aren’t we lucky,” her friend commented, “that we belong to a church that doesn’t make us think this was our fault?” Fuck religion. And not in a good way. (Unitarians excepted). Referring to movements toward suffrage, freedom, electoral representation circa 1893: If American civil liberties were granted to every man at the islands, then the very men who admired liberty most would be swamped at the polls by a rabble of brown and yellow men who could have no real idea of what liberty meant. These are Daws’s words but in no way his sentiment: he is quite darkly spelling out what few at the time (or today) would utter but some unmentionables nonetheless think. His frankness here is starkly effective. Regarding education for Japanese immigrants: Once again, then, too much Americanism appeared subversive: “We are fond of saying that the children of America, of whatever parentage, are entitled to all the education we can give them,” wrote Edward Irwin (the same man who found the flat features and short legs of the Japanese repulsive), “They’re not, of course; they’re entitled to only such an amount as we think is best for them.” Fast forward to today, dear reader, and reflect on the Washington of 2018, and weep. TL;DR people suck. This book doesn't.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Debbi

    Written from the point of view of a non-Hawai'ian, Shoal of Time presents the history of the islands from the time of Captain Cook's arrival to Hawai'i's admission to statehood. I purchased the book on the strength of a discussion I had with an Islander who told me that it was required for one of his classes when he was in college--and that he initially despised it and threw it away after reading the first chapter. When his professor insisted that he had to give the book a fair shake, he consent Written from the point of view of a non-Hawai'ian, Shoal of Time presents the history of the islands from the time of Captain Cook's arrival to Hawai'i's admission to statehood. I purchased the book on the strength of a discussion I had with an Islander who told me that it was required for one of his classes when he was in college--and that he initially despised it and threw it away after reading the first chapter. When his professor insisted that he had to give the book a fair shake, he consented, bought a new copy and read it. While his first impression was softened, he nevertheless considered it a "haole" book and not representative of the Hawai'ian perspective. My own reading proved the validity of his estimation of the book. Particularly in the first couple of chapters; Gavan Daws presents the Hawai'ian people as they were viewed by the Europeans, and later, the Americans. He does it in such a way as to give the reader the impression that he is describing the native population as they actually were, rather than as they were seen by people of an entirely different culture. Because, in reality, the Hawai'ian people were marginalized by the Americans who usurped their government, the book also marginalizes them. It concentrates on the events that led to statehood, the activities of the missionaries, planters, and other foreign elements as they took control of the morals, economy, and finally the government of the Islands. Well written, and accomplishing its purpose, the book will probably never receive a place in the Hawai'ian hearts as a telling of their story; it is nevertheless, a good portrayal of how a people lost their lands, their culture, and their government.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ariel

    An abridged and dated account of Hawaiian history. Certain events are either glossed over such as the signing of Britain and France's recognition of Hawai'i as a sovereign kingdom and first non-European country into the family of nations. Daws is also inconsistent with his accounts: regarding Kaumuali'i allying himself with Georg Schaffer against Kamehameha, the author is detailed. Yet in talking about Ka'ahumanu, Daws only mentions that she created the office of kuhina nui and that creation was An abridged and dated account of Hawaiian history. Certain events are either glossed over such as the signing of Britain and France's recognition of Hawai'i as a sovereign kingdom and first non-European country into the family of nations. Daws is also inconsistent with his accounts: regarding Kaumuali'i allying himself with Georg Schaffer against Kamehameha, the author is detailed. Yet in talking about Ka'ahumanu, Daws only mentions that she created the office of kuhina nui and that creation was how she became the center of political affairs. The omitting of how she actually became a central political figure ignores a lot of history and information including her action of why the kapu system was abolished or how she managed to bring Kaua'i and Ni'ihau in the Hawaiian kingdom when Kamehameha could not. Shoal of Time is a dated book, and the author appears to willfully ignore alot of significant events to Hawaiian history.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Aline Laforge

    A must read, recommended to me by my Lomilomi teacher. Don't base your sole knowledge of Hawaiʻi on Michener's rambling tome. I think a Hawaiʻian might say, 'Go to the source and sip from that spring.' This book can give you insight into the consequences of island history that has ripped resources from the land and the land away from the indigenous people. It is not presented as if their own Aliʻi and Monarchs had no faults, but you can see how Mainland thoughts of the islands are still based on A must read, recommended to me by my Lomilomi teacher. Don't base your sole knowledge of Hawaiʻi on Michener's rambling tome. I think a Hawaiʻian might say, 'Go to the source and sip from that spring.' This book can give you insight into the consequences of island history that has ripped resources from the land and the land away from the indigenous people. It is not presented as if their own Aliʻi and Monarchs had no faults, but you can see how Mainland thoughts of the islands are still based on an inaccurate foundation. This book will help you understand the upwelling of Hawai'ian activists as they try to protect sacred peaks from telescopes, sacred springs from subdivisions, and the health of their children from global corporation chemicals. Actions that could save Hawaiʻi, might save the world. Mālama ʻāina, mālama honua.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Charles Korb

    Lots of the reviews point out that this book is kinda racist. Racist things definitely happen in this book (it is a history after all) and it definitely condemns them less than a modern text would (it was written in 1968) but I can't help but feel that its comparative lack of condemnation is still a negative judgement left more to the reader than a social obligation allowing it to praise with a faint damn. Anyway, if you want a history of the whole time Hawaii was on the global stage, from Cook's Lots of the reviews point out that this book is kinda racist. Racist things definitely happen in this book (it is a history after all) and it definitely condemns them less than a modern text would (it was written in 1968) but I can't help but feel that its comparative lack of condemnation is still a negative judgement left more to the reader than a social obligation allowing it to praise with a faint damn. Anyway, if you want a history of the whole time Hawaii was on the global stage, from Cook's landing to the aftermath of it becoming a US state, this is the book for you. 2019 SAL Bingo squares that it qualifies for: -Subject you wish you studied in school -Recommended by a librarian/independent bookseller

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alison

    I started this before out trip to Hawaii this year, as I wanted to learn more about the islands. This was the book mentioned again and again as the best history of the natives and colonization. The first two chapters, on Captain Cook and King Kamehameha, were very interesting, But I got bogged down in the detail and the political intrigue of the arrival of more Europeans on the 1820s/1830s. For a casual reader, I think this is the type of thing best read in chunks, interspersing other things alo I started this before out trip to Hawaii this year, as I wanted to learn more about the islands. This was the book mentioned again and again as the best history of the natives and colonization. The first two chapters, on Captain Cook and King Kamehameha, were very interesting, But I got bogged down in the detail and the political intrigue of the arrival of more Europeans on the 1820s/1830s. For a casual reader, I think this is the type of thing best read in chunks, interspersing other things along the way. I expect I will come back to this eventually, perhaps with some of the later chapters (it covers up to statehood in 1959).

  25. 4 out of 5

    Paul Lunger

    With "Shoal of Time: A History of the Hawaiian Island", Gavan Daws gives us one of the most comprehensive histories of the Hawaiian islands from the early days of exploration of them all the way up to their eventual statehood in 1959. The book itself is a fascinating read especially since the history of this state isn't really all that well known & at times is a bit disturbing to see all of the turmoil in the state's history along w/ the US's fascination with the island chain which seemingly las With "Shoal of Time: A History of the Hawaiian Island", Gavan Daws gives us one of the most comprehensive histories of the Hawaiian islands from the early days of exploration of them all the way up to their eventual statehood in 1959. The book itself is a fascinating read especially since the history of this state isn't really all that well known & at times is a bit disturbing to see all of the turmoil in the state's history along w/ the US's fascination with the island chain which seemingly lasted for a couple centuries. Daws book will definitely give anyone a different perspective on our nation's 50th state & for this non-native has me curious to visit to learn more about it as well.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Naomi

    Interesting and readable, this is a very broad history of the Hawaiian islands. This breadth was a big task to take on and it was gracefully managed. I thought it was more objective than colonialist - maybe that’s my colonial ancestors speaking through me? Daws lists the numerous exploitations of this island chain as sad inevitabilities, giving the book a ‘history is written by the conquerors’ tone. I learned a lot about Hawaii and I would be interested to read another history from a different p Interesting and readable, this is a very broad history of the Hawaiian islands. This breadth was a big task to take on and it was gracefully managed. I thought it was more objective than colonialist - maybe that’s my colonial ancestors speaking through me? Daws lists the numerous exploitations of this island chain as sad inevitabilities, giving the book a ‘history is written by the conquerors’ tone. I learned a lot about Hawaii and I would be interested to read another history from a different perspective.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alissa

    This is a post-colonial history of Hawaii, and a very traditional history in its focus on the political intrigue and economic development. Very little about the native Hawaiian experience (a few halfhearted mentions of epidemics around halfway through), nothing about the environmental impact of colonization, but an acceptable (for me) acknowledgement of the poison of American racism. A good primer.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Seth

    Shoal of Time, an impressive one-volume history of Hawaii, is now over 50 years old. It is still quite an achievement, but subsequent scholarship in various fields makes it less of the central text on the subject. It’s ultimately a good account of white Hawaii, although very progressive for its time. Read this one, along with other books that center the stories of other groups for a fuller picture.

  29. 4 out of 5

    David

    Interesting history of Hawaii from the moment Cook first came across the islands until the resolution of statehood. Well done and as a good history should be, fair in reporting. History is never black and white and both sides are have their faults as well as good intentions. Recognizing each side’s innate bias is key to understanding events. Never as clear cut as some would have one believe. Recommended if you are interested in history and/or Hawaii.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sara Gray

    This was a good layman's basic history of the Hawaiian islands from the arrival of Captain James Cook in the late 1700s to the early 1960s. Anyone visiting or moving to the islands--especially haole like me--should give this a read to get an idea of context, especially when it comes to still-relevant issues such as annexation/statehood, the islands' labor history, and the previous pandemics that decimated the native Hawaiian population.

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