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Hawaii's Story by Hawaii's Queen

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  732 ratings  ·  110 reviews
In 1893, Liliuokalani, the Queen of Hawaii, was deposed and five years later her nation became an incorporated territory of the United States.

Published shortly after these momentous events, her book Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen is an incredibly personal history of the islands that she was born to rule. Liliuokalani covers from her birth in 1838 through the reigns of
Kindle Edition, 285 pages
Published September 11th 2016 by Oceanic Press (first published 1898)
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The government of the Sandwich Islands appears to have passed from the hands of the king into the hands of a military oligarchy that is more domineering than Kalakaua ever was. Before the recent revolt of the Europeans in Honolulu the press of the city was very plain-spoken. It printed unadorned truths about the king, and the latter made no effort to suppress such unpleasant utterances. Now, under the new régime, the newspapers are kept in check with military thoroughness. It seems incredible,
Dec 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who care about native cultures in the US, Hawaii travelers
Required reading for visitors to the Hawaiian Islands, IMO. Written by Hawaii's last queen, a very eloquent, worldly, and loving Victorian woman. She speaks directly, and in a somewhat formal Victorian manner. She tells of how she was essentially framed by US advisers whom she trusted and who had profited from her and her country's generosity. She was arrested, imprisoned, and forced to abdicate. Her possessions were all ransacked and stolen. She bears no bitterness, only disbelief at the ...more
I was pretty excited to read Liliuokalani's memoirs after reading Sarah Vowell's Unfamiliar Fishes, which details the history of Hawaii's annexation to the United States. Vowell consistently references Liliuokalani as a source, and I imagined her memoirs would be full of Hawaiian history and interesting anecdotes from her life. However - and this is my bad - I didn't take into account that Liliuokalani primarily wrote this for a contemporary audience as a plea for Hawaiian independence. Given ...more
Jan 17, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are two ways to read this: as a literary autobiography, and as a "plea for justice" as the introduction suggests. As a literary work, the book drones on in a "and this happened, and this happened, and this happened" sort of way. There are interesting parts, but the writing is very dry and dull. As a protest book, on the other hand, the book is compelling and utterly heartfelt. We have to sympathize with the Queen when she begs the United States to give her people back their islands and ...more
Sep 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Amazing. The last third of the book is quite telling of the injustices suffered by the Hawaiian people from a few business men in the name of the United States. The acquisition of Hawaii by this country was unlawful, and suited the interest of a few wealthy people while crushing the rest of the population. It's been over a hundred years, and now we know this country has adapted these policies of promoting the interests of the the few at the costs of the many at home as well. We had no business
280815: i read this many years ago- decades actually. significant for the more recent kamaaina renaissance, the recovery of hawai'ian pride. surprised that I had not put this on here, though through family history know most of the appropriation of the islands, the unavoidable american annexation- look on any globe and you will note Honolulu is more or less the exact centre of the northern pacific, so useful to Europeans, to Americans, to whaling ships of moby dick era, to nuclear submarines and ...more
Sandi Banks
Apr 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After a wonderful trip to the Big Island in March I was ready to read about Hawaiian history. I read Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell. This inspired me to learn more. I wanted to read Queen Liliuokalani's memoir.

This was not an easy read. It was written in the late 1890s soon after the Hawaiian Islands was annexed by the United States . Liliuokalani was the last Hawaiian monarch who ruled islands. She thought this annexation unjust
bullying from the American business men whose missionary
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-our-trip
I've visited and loved the four major islands over the years, but I'm ashamed to say I didn't fully understand Hawaii's history. The last queen's firsthand written account of how the missionary oligarchy stole the islands from the Hawaiians is a real revelation. When we visit again this Fall, I'm sure I'll see this beautiful paradise with new eyes, and I'll NEVER look at a can of Dole pineapple the same way.
Mar 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has touched me in many ways. Being of Hawaiian ancestery and reading this book made me really re-think the way I thought about my culture and my people. Knowing all that has happend in my people's history is unbelievable. I encourage anyone of hawaiian descent or anyone who is just amazed by hawaiian history to read this book.
Wendy Jackson
I am having a hard time writing this review. Instead of sharing my thoughts and impressions of the book itself, I am holding back a raging, unhinged tirade about the injustice that is Hawaiian history after the arrival of the American missionaries. Honestly, at times I had to put the book down because the sheer criminality of what happened is so blatant (you would think I would be inured given the near entirety of US foreign policy, but no). The only comparator that comes to mind is the ...more
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, memoir
This book is an important primary source on matters leading up to the annexation presented from a point of view that is too often ignored in American histories. It is not, however, an easy read. Liliuokalani was to an extent a chronicler. She went into great detail about people and incidents that I was not interested in. She occasionally jumped around and circled back. But she was a skilled writer, and she provided strong and detailed descriptions of the many things that happened in her life. ...more
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read for those who want to know about the real Hawai’i, and hope to understand a bit more about the historical harm native Hawaiians have suffered.
Well.... How to review this book?
I read it out loud to my students at our Hawaiian immersion school, 7th to 12th graders, in preparation for our annual Eo E Liliu song competition. This year for the first time our students wrote original compositions honoring the last queen of Hawaii. Usually we just learn songs that she wrote or that were written in her honor like Kaulana Na Pua, Ke Ai Na Alii, Anapau etc etc et. Her songs are legion.

Queen Liliuokalani sits so prettily in her black and white
Nov 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is important to understand going in that this isn't a history of Hawaii. It is part memoir, and part cry of injustice, by Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii. It is written in a very formal, and at times dull, 18th century style.
The Queen devotes the first part of the book to explaining how she came to be monarch - both her upbringing as part of the Hawaii royal elite in the mid-19th Century, the ascent of her family to the throne with the crowning of her cousin David Kelakaua (who was supported by
Lili'uokalani was the last reigning sovereign of Hawaii. In 1893, the monarchy was overthrown by a group of mainly American businessmen; in 1895, Lili'uokalani was arrested, imprisoned in Iolani Palace, and forced to abdicate the throne. Hawaii became a protectorate of the United States, and the monarchy was no more.

The book provides an interesting picture of late nineteenth century Hawaii's society and government, though the social parts are occasionally overfull of details about who visited
Jun 10, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book can be clearly divided into two parts: from Liliuokalani's childhood to Queen Victoria's Jubilee, and from then until the annexation of Hawai'i.

The first part of the book is woefully lacking in detail. Liliuokalani declines to describe Hawai'ian food, customs, or scenery (beyond one memorable description of lava). I read every word and yet came away without a fuller understanding of Hawai'ian culture or customs. Instead, Liliuokalani praises her friends and the "delightful" parties
S. B. Letham
Jan 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Incredible slice of history. I love reading voices of people who wrote about important issues at the time that they happened, especially those on the other side of an issue that has been long forgotten. (Few people in 2017 debate about Hawaiian independence.) Liliuokalani is gracious and generous, always pointing out those in the US who treated her with kindness and dignity, most notably President Cleveland.

The prose is colorful, as expected of a writer in the late 1800s, but not difficult to
Jun 19, 2008 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: American Studies or Native American Studies majors,
Recommended to Shannon by: A native Hawai'ian at Borders bookstore in Kona
What began as a slow Victorian guide to the social "A" list, has developed into a riviting and pragmatic account of American Imperialism. Lilioukalani is a shrewd and astute political analyst regarding the overthrow of her government and U.S. annexation of Hawai'i.

After having just visited Hawai'i, this book really delves into the complexity of this island nation and it's place in U.S. politics during the late 19th century.

A facsincating read by a fascinating woman!
Pua Hawaiʻi Book Blog
Controversy aside, this book is absolutely enchanting! Read about the monarchy, Hawaiian government, society and culture–-all through the eyes of a queen who lovingly describes her land and people with inspiring detail.

Read more:
Ginger Lobdell
Dec 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am so grateful to have found this book while honeymooning in Hawaii. Hawaii's Story by Hawaii's Queen became my favorite autobiography/memoir. Queen Liliuokalani was the last monarch of Hawaii. She led a fascinating life, and I can't wait to learn more about her!
A remarkable read. Even though it is obvious how things would eventually turn out, I felt fresh anger, dismay, and heartbreak in every moment when Liliuokalani and her brother were forced to give ground to American capitalist interests.

The details of the processes shown here are often difficult for me particularly because they are so piecemeal. I find myself looking for the exact moment when the monarchy was overthrown and the missionary party gained power, going 'but they can't just do that,'
Leonide Martin
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First published in 1989, this first-hand account by Liliuokalani reveals the native Hawaiian experience and views during the difficult years as the 19th century ended and the Hawaiian monarchy was usurped. She wrote it as a plea for justice, hoping to win support internationally and convince U.S. President McKinley to restore the Hawaiian throne, as had been done in 1843 by U. S. Admiral Thomas following illegal action by British colonizers. But the interests of American plantation owners and ...more
Kylee Ehmann
Liluokalani wrote this as a plea for justice for the overthrow of her monarchy at the hands of white American planters to create a racial oligarchy. While at times I found her appeals to the United State's sense of justice a little off the mark (the country wasn't that far from the Civil War and Trail of Tears, after all), they're so passionate and so pleading that they still struck at my core. It feels all the more poignant today when Hawaiian sovereignty is continually threatened (see the ...more
Sharon Chang
This is a really important book in the fight for Native Hawaiian sovereignty. It reveals the truth about how Hawai‘i was taken by white colonizers as told directly by the islands' last reigning sovereign (who was dethroned), Queen Lili‘uokalani. The Queen loved her people, fought racist representations of Native Hawaiians in the US press, and was centrally involved in Indigenous resistance to annexation. As the Goodreads synopsis shows, this book was published as an international plea for ...more
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very important primary source for the period leading up to and during the Hawaiian annexation. Liliuokalani's account is even more historically notable given the fact that she was writing at a time when most other authors writing about Hawaii were non-Hawaiian white men, which necessarily skews the overall historical narrative. That being said, Liliuokalani's book is intensely personal — she largely wrote it as a contemporary plea for Hawaiian freedom —and therefore should be read more as a ...more
May 03, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I can't say that I would necessarily recommend this book. The language was too diplomatic and formal with too little tangible information for me to love it. Huge swaths read like an elaborate thank you note for all the hospitality Liliuokalani received in her life. However, it did bring to the forefront of my mind the fact that I cannot name instance in which white people entered brown people's land in which the brown people acted with curiosity or, god forbid, hospitality, that ever ever ever ...more
Sep 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hawaii-pacific
Written in true Victorian fashion, Liliuokalani hardly leaves out a detail as she recounts her life. The good side of this is how it allows us to see the missionary party inching forward until their overthrow of the monarchy. It pinpoints each transgression against the government that gave so much consideration and respect to foreigners who would never return the kindness. The bad side is that it ends up being incredibly dry reading most of the time. There's a huge chunk where the queen travels ...more
The book was interesting and filled in some gaps that I had about Hawaii's story. I picked up the book when I was in Hawaii so I could be more knowledgeable about our 50th state.
The US colonized Hawaii when they discovered the resources in the Islands and exploited the Native Hawaiians as has been done the world over forever. American businessmen and the missionaries, in the name of God, took over and went so far as to imprison Queen Liliuokalani. Even though I was aware of the exploitation and
Spicy T AKA Mr. Tea
This was an eye-opening and powerful read. From her own point of view, Queen Liliuokalani tells the tale of the American, business-led coup that stripped her country of its sovereignty and her of her position. And it's more than that. She gives an accounting of the native history, culture, and people and life before, during, and after the coup. Another reviewer stated that (paraphrasing) this should be required reading for anyone going to Hawai'i. I couldn't agree more. It's also another look at ...more
Aug 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was interesting, but I felt like 50% of it was a travelogue or kind of a social diary. Which was great in the sense that I got a sense of what a fascinating person's life was like, but it was bad in the sense that it wasn't really "Hawaii's Story" as the title indicates. I kind of left with the impression that the deceitful/manipulative/coercive annexation of a sovereign country was a bit of an afterthought. I guess I wanted more of a history book.
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Liliʻuokalani was born Lydia Liliʻu Loloku Walania Wewehi Kamakaʻeha. She was the last monarch and only queen regnant of the Kingdom of Hawaii. She was also known as Lydia Kamakaʻeha Pākī, with the chosen royal name of Liliʻuokalani, and her married name was Lydia K. Dominis.
“The chief whose retainers were in any poverty or want would have felt, not only their sufferings, but, further, his own disgrace.” 0 likes
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