Blue's Reviews > Lost Kingdom: Hawaii's Last Queen, the Sugar Kings and America's First Imperial Adventure

Lost Kingdom by Julia Flynn Siler
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Feb 17, 12

bookshelves: giveaways-won
Read from January 20 to February 17, 2012 — I own a copy

I got this book through the Goodreads First Reads giveaway. Thanks!

I am going to agree with those who found the book written in a disorganized fashion and in a way that makes a fascinating part of Pacific history utterly boring.

My first main problem was not the language that Siler uses, but more her idea structure (or lack there of). On page 49, she tells us about a ball where the future queen dances. Reading this paragraph, I didn't think much about this dancing. The following paragraph, though, starts with a sentence that states that there is no evidence that she cheated on her husband. What?! So now, reading this, I started to wonder why anyone would say this. Were there people out there that claimed that she had indeed cheated on her husband? Why, what evidence did they have? Siler does this over and over, where non sequiturs pepper the narration without intention or humor. I wondered if there was a copy-paste rearrangement problem.

My second main problem was that Siler worships Lili'u, even though the books proves in many parts that Lili'u (and her brother who was king before her) was an inadequate, ill-equipped monarch with some serious petty jealousy issues. There is a lot of royalty-worship, but the facts point at a narrow-minded, self-centered monarchy. It is easy to be sorry and sad after the fact, but what they did during the sugar-king takeover of their kingdom is nothing courageous or thoughtful. One can argue away many things, saying poor little kingdom was not worldly enough to deal with the cunning white imperialists and capitalists, but at some point some responsibility has to fall on the leaders and their bad judgement and lack of leadership qualities. There are many examples around the globe where the poor little people had very wise leaders who eventually resisted and sometimes were successful. Lili'u lived in comfort her whole life and didn't resist much. (I only read this book about the history of Hawaii, so I may not be very well-informed, but the point remains that the book is written in a way that holds the queen in high respect, for not apparent reason.)

In the end I finished the book, but I complained plenty as it dragged on. I finished it, because I was interested in the history and the facts, but perhaps I should have read something a bit less biased.
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01/20/2012 page 12
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