A colorful biography of a colorful man who lived in a vivid time and place. David Kalakaua, last king of Hawaii, ruled during the last half of the 19th century. During his years as ruler he was required to prevail over the long standing Kamehameha dynasty, to manoeuver whites and Hawaiians politically, to inherit the cross section of the island problems. Hawaiians fought Hawaiians; missionaries fought trader; whites fought Hawaiians -- and Kalakaua worked towards making himself titular head of a united kingdom of the Pacific -- and lost. Burns' lively style does justice to his hero and to the significance of a period important in the growth of the Pacific area, and the study of the impact of the west and native culture.