THE ISLANDS by W. Storrs Lee


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Even if anyone writing about Hawaii is handicapped by Michener, Lee's book is pleasantly styled historical narrative designed with fine dramatic sense. The Hawaiian Islands/the State of Hawaii fascinate almost everybody, and Lee's book is just the right thing this year for people who spent one summer or another, since it came out, reading Michener's. It has some edifying notes on the types of missionaries (and their wives) who chose Hawaii as their ""field""; it tells about the creation of a written Hawaiin language and the dynamism of the early educational structures, the tragic decimation of the Polynesians, the beginnings of economic organization, the crazes for one crop after another and the eventual dominance of sugar and pineapples, the many social fads and fancies that struck natives and foreigners by turns, the labor troubles, the ""isolationism,"" the tourism, the war years, the drive from Statehood, and the miraculous accidents of time and Nature that somehow enabled the multilingual, multiracial, multicultural population of Hawaii to ""fuse into an interesting and colorful alloy."" It is W. Storrs (The Sierra, Canal Across a Continent, Stagecoach North) Lee at his best, and that's mighty good reading if the nonfiction treatment is the reader's meat.

Pub Date: June 9th, 1966
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston