Hawaii: A Novel

Paperback | July 9, 2002

byJames A. MichenerIntroduction bySteve Berry

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Pulitzer Prize–winning author James A. Michener brings Hawaii’s epic history vividly to life in a classic saga that has captivated readers since its initial publication in 1959. As the volcanic Hawaiian Islands sprout from the ocean floor, the land remains untouched for centuries—until, little more than a thousand years ago, Polynesian seafarers make the perilous journey across the Pacific, flourishing in this tropical paradise according to their ancient traditions. Then, in the early nineteenth century, American missionaries arrive, bringing with them a new creed and a new way of life. Based on exhaustive research and told in Michener’s immersive prose, Hawaii is the story of disparate peoples struggling to keep their identity, live in harmony, and, ultimately, join together.
 
Praise for Hawaii
 
“Wonderful . . . [a] mammoth epic of the islands.”The Baltimore Sun
 
“One novel you must not miss! A tremendous work from every point of view—thrilling, exciting, lusty, vivid, stupendous.”Chicago Tribune
 
“From Michener’s devotion to the islands, he has written a monumental chronicle of Hawaii, an extraordinary and fascinating novel.”Saturday Review
 
“Memorable . . . a superb biography of a people.”Houston Chronicle

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From the Publisher

Pulitzer Prize–winning author James A. Michener brings Hawaii’s epic history vividly to life in a classic saga that has captivated readers since its initial publication in 1959. As the volcanic Hawaiian Islands sprout from the ocean floor, the land remains untouched for centuries—until, little more than a thousand years ago, Polynesian...

From the Jacket

In "Hawaii, Pulitzer Prize-winning author James Michener weaves the classic saga that brought Hawaii's epic history vividly alive to the American public on its initial publication in 1959, and continues to mesmerize even today. The volcanic processes by which the Hawaiian Islands grew from the ocean floor were inconceivably slow, and t...

James A. Michener was one of the world’s most popular writers, the author of more than forty books of fiction and nonfiction, including the Pulitzer Prize–winning Tales of the South Pacific, the bestselling novels The Source, Hawaii, Alaska, Chesapeake, Centennial, Texas, Caribbean, and Caravans, and the memoir The World Is My Home. Mi...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:1136 pages, 8.27 × 5.49 × 1.54 inPublished:July 9, 2002Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0375760377

ISBN - 13:9780375760372

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hawaii A very well written story of what the history of Hawaii may well have been. The use of characters is phenomenal covering several generations. Thoroughly enjoyed it and cannot believe I waited so long to read it. Am looking forward to reading other works by this gifted author
Date published: 2015-03-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hawaii What a great book about the history of how Hawaii got to be the way it is.....from the early Polynesians who traveled from Bora Bora, to the American missionaries who came in the mid-1800's to bring Christianity to the Hawaiian people, how the powerful land owning families came to be in The Fort, the introduction of sugar cane and pineapple plantations and the oriental labor that came from China and Japan to work those plantations. The leper colony on Molokai, Pearl Harbor, the plague that ended with the burning of all of Chinatown in Honolulu. To read this and then picture these places in my mind as we walked those streets in Chinatown, drove Nuanuu Hwy, saw the pineapple fields and old sugar mills. Just a great book that makes me want to go back to Oahu even more and see all the museums and history that we missed on our last trip. We will get to Hawaii again.......
Date published: 2014-05-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hawaii Old but great saga that I just couldn't put down. Will keep this book in my library as I'll definitely be reading it again.
Date published: 2014-01-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hawaii Just finished this massive book that covers the history of Hawaii. From the ancient tribes of idol worshipers that sailed by canoe to the Big Island and settled the island chain. Then the very ignorant missionaries arrive and their journey is a book by itself. From the birth of the islands out of the ocean to pre-statehood, it leaves the reader with a keen knowledge and a heart understanding of the people that settled the Islands. I have a new respect for the Chinese and Japanese and how different they are.
Date published: 2014-01-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Terrific Historical Novel Hawaii opens with the formation of the islands and closes in the 1950s. It is a sweeping family saga which chronicles the lives of the Polynesians who journey from Bora Bora; Hawaiians; American merchants and missionaries and their descendants; and Chinese and Japanese families who made Hawaii their home. I have to admit that it took me a while to get into the story - I found the beginning, particularly the geological formation of the islands and the story of the Polynesians, slow going. I almost gave up but, because it is my Mother's favourite book, kept reading. It was worthwhile and turned out to be a terrific historical novel. It found its rhythm and its voice with the introduction of the missionaries. Hawaii's is an interesting history (some special points of interest for me include the Hawaiian struggle, the cultural and racial difficulties and experiences, World War II, the leprosy epidemic, and the economic development of the islands). Michener has told it well and peopled it with some memorable characters.
Date published: 2011-04-27

Extra Content

Read from the Book

Millions upon millions of years ago, when the continents were already formed and the principal features of the earth had been decided, there existed, then as now, one aspect of the world that dwarfed all others. It was a mighty ocean, resting uneasily to the east of the largest continent, a restless ever-changing, gigantic body of water that would later be described as pacific. Over its brooding surface immense winds swept back and forth, whipping the waters into towering waves that crashed down upon the world’s seacoasts, tearing away rocks and eroding the land. In its dark bosom, strange life was beginning to form, minute at first, then gradually of a structure now lost even to memory. Upon its farthest reaches birds with enormous wings came to rest, and then flew on.Agitated by a moon stronger then than now, immense tides ripped across this tremendous ocean, keeping it in a state of torment. Since no great amounts of sand had yet been built, the waters where they reached shore were universally dark, black as nigh and fearful.Scores of millions of years before man had risen from the shores of the ocean to perceive its grandeur and to venture forth upon its turbulent waves, this eternal sea existed, larger than any other of the earth’s features, vaster than the sister oceans combined, wild, terrifying in its immensity and imperative in its universal role.How utterly vast it was! How its surges modified the very balance of the earth! How completely lonely it was, hidden in the dark ness of night or burning in the dazzling power of a younger sun than ours.At recurring intervals the ocean grew cold. Ice piled up along its extremities, and so pulled vast amounts of water from the sea, so that the wandering shoreline of the continents sometimes jutted miles farther out than before. Then, for a hundred thousand years, the ceaseless ocean would tear at the exposed shelf of the continents, grinding rocks into sand and incubating new life.Later, the fantastic accumulations of ice would melt, setting cold waters free to join the heaving ocean, and the coasts of the continents would lie submerged. Now the restless energy of the sea deposited upon the ocean bed layers of silt and skeletons and salt. For a million years the ocean would build soil, and then the ice would return; the waters would draw away; and the land would lie exposed. Winds from the north and south would howl across the empty seas and last stupendous waves upon the shattering shore. Thus the ocean continued is alternate building and tearing down.Master of life, guardian of the shorelines, regulator of temperatures and heaving sculptor of mountains, the great ocean existed.

Editorial Reviews

“Wonderful . . . [a] mammoth epic of the islands.”—The Baltimore Sun   “One novel you must not miss! A tremendous work from every point of view—thrilling, exciting, lusty, vivid, stupendous.”—Chicago Tribune   “From Michener’s devotion to the islands, he has written a monumental chronicle of Hawaii, an extraordinary and fascinating novel.”—Saturday Review   “Memorable . . . a superb biography of a people.”—Houston Chronicle