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Hawaiian Mythology

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  158 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Ku and Hina-man and woman-were the great ancestral gods of heaven and earth for the ancient Hawaiians. They were life's fruitfulness and all the generations of mankind, both those who are to come and those already born.

The Hawaiian gods were like great chiefs from far lands who visited among the people, entering their daily lives sometimes as humans or animals, sometimes
Paperback, 608 pages
Published June 1st 1982 by University of Hawaii Press (first published 1940)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  158 ratings  ·  11 reviews

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Jul 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
I interloaned this from my local library thinking it would be a fun read. For the record, I love mythology. Especially that which is non-Greek (which is overdone, although still cool). Plus, I'd just returned from a 10-day visit to Hawaii. I've been interested in culture and customs of Hawaii since that social studies unit in first grade. So... A good choice in books, right?

Not so much.

What I was hoping for was a quick, easy to read volume about the gods and godesses of Hawaii. Stories. Legends.
Nov 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Most comprehensive and informative book on the subject of Hawaiian Mythology. Tremedous book.
Ross Henderson
Only got about 40% through, very dry and academic text which I was not expecting. Poorly organised (each chapter is centralised around a deity it group but then each legend is split into succinct accounts from many subcultures, leading to repetitions)
Aug 22, 2012 rated it liked it
This is not a book I could read from cover to cover. I have found it most useful as an index to stories in Fornander's collection of Hawaiian folklore. This book still seems to be a standard reference, and given its ubiquity in Hawaiian bookstores (especially those aimed at tourist trade) it is itself now something of an anthropological artifact. As I have read and reread it, though, I have come to appreciate the difficulty of its task, and the skill with which it compiles stories from a variety ...more
Jul 31, 2015 rated it liked it
It was FASCINATING but god it's so dense, this is one of those that works better as a reference book than trying to just read it straight through. As you can tell from the 5 months I spent on it.
Jul 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mythologies
The most thorough compendium of Hawaiian mythology outside of formal scholarly literature. A good library addition for anyone with interest in the Polynesian islands.
Oct 28, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: research
Although this book contained exhaustive examples and research, it was poorly organized in places.
Briana Grenert
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Mahalo nui loa to UH and OHA for the online resources on Ulukau!

Definitely more useful as a reference work, and much more an anthropological study than a retelling of myths. Fantastic, detailed, and clear. A difficult read, but well worth it!
I've been eyeing this book for several years, so I'm happy to finally have read it (though I will need to reread it at least a few times to actually absorb any large percentage of the information - even though the
Jan 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: mythology
This is a fairly comprehensive flying overview of Hawaiian mythology, but it is very dense and written from an anthropological perspective (so more discussing the myths than truly retelling them). I would not recommend this as an introductory book to Hawaiian mythology.
Jul 16, 2008 rated it it was ok
Textbook containing a lot of analysis and some mythology. Breaks down the structures of a very complex mythology. I would've liked to see more mythology and a little less academic process--sometimes you just have to trust the reader with the information and fill in the blanks when needed. Then again, it's a fucking textbook, so I really shouldn't be complaining. Still, nothing but a big sigh for this one.
May 15, 2014 rated it liked it
A vintage academic work, which I read as background for an upcoming trip to Hawaii. It is not an easy read, but a good reference for sites, legends, etc.
KS Aldinger
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