I’ve been debating whether or not to step into the territory of sharing things about my heritage or not, but when I picked up this book in October (because, you know me and books) crossing into that territory is what I am going to do.
Author: Kamanamaikalani Beamer
Release Date: June 1, 2014
Publisher: Kamehameha Publishing
Read: Currently reading
The Hook: Hawaiian history on the global scale
I had the privilege of attending a workshop given by the author of this book, Kamanamaikalani Beamer (and to brag, because I can since it’s my blog, I got his autograph! Cut me some slack, there’s not much book tours that stop on my small island so the fact that I could get an author’s autograph in person is kind of a big deal for me). He shared with us some of his research and discussed some of his thought process while writing this book. And I was amazed. The history geek and book geek in me was practically squealing with excitement.
The reason for my excitement has everything to do with why I decided to study European History rather than … well, Hawaiian History. Before I hear backlash, I love my Hawaiian heritage. I grew up that way. We weren’t heavy into Hawaiian culture to the point where I can tell you the name of every native Hawaiian plan or dance every hula at the drop of a name or speak Hawaiian, but we grew up respecting the culture and the values. I chose to study European History because I wanted to see how Hawaii relates on the global scale. When we studied the Hawaiian Monarchy in grade school, I was amazed to see our ali’i very attuned to European culture. It was taught that the princess who was to succeed Queen Liliokalani, Princess Kaiulani, was sent to Europe to learn and train. And this intrigued me. It intrigued me because if we, as a Hawaiian people, took interest in European affairs enough so to train our young alii why are we not under Great Britain or France? Why did we fall to the United States instead?
Since I’m surrounded by raw material to learn about Hawaiian life and culture, and have been since I was born, I decided it may be interesting to understand the other side of it. I decided that maybe I may learn a thing or two if I broaden my view of Hawaii to include Europe.
And this book contributes to that! See? Excitement. Kamanamaikalani Beamer has chosen to write a book that “highlights native agency in the face of Western imperialism (back cover).” Add to this the fact that I’m finishing up my Western Civilization class so I’m learning about stuff like the Revolutions of 1848 and such. It’s amazing to think about the parallel timeline of events between what was going on in the Pacific Ocean and what was going on over in Europe. Now, I’ll get to really see what was going on in Hawaii in relation to Europe.
Non fiction books take me longer to read though so … it may be a while for me to actual review it. But, in case you missed it, I’m excited!