Lost Kingdom

Lost Kingdom

Hawaii's Last Queen, the Sugar Kings, and America's First Imperial Adventure

Book - 2012
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Around 200 A.D., intrepid Polynesians arrived at an undisturbed archipelago. For centuries, their descendants lived with little contact from the western world. In 1778, their isolation was shattered with the arrival of Captain Cook.

Deftly weaving together a memorable cast of characters, Lost Hawaii brings to life the ensuing clash between a vulnerable Polynesian people and relentlessly expanding capitalist powers. Portraits of royalty and rogues, sugar barons, and missionaries combine into a sweeping tale of the Hawaiian Kingdom's rise and fall.

At the center of the story is Lili'uokalani, the last queen of Hawai'i. Born in 1838, she lived through the nearly complete economic transformation of the islands. Lucrative sugar plantations gradually subsumed the majority of the land, owned almost exclusively by white planters, dubbed the "Sugar Kings." Hawai'i became a prize in the contest between America, Britain, and France, each seeking to expand their military and commercial influence in the Pacific.

The monarchy had become a figurehead, victim to manipulation from the wealthy sugar plantation owners. Lili'uokalani was determined to enact a constitution to reinstate the monarchy's power but was outmaneuvered by the U.S. The annexation of Hawai'i had begun, ushering in a new century of American imperialism.

Publisher: New York : Atlantic Monthly Press, c2012.
ISBN: 9780802120014
Characteristics: xxx, 415 p., [16] p. of plates :,ill., map, ports. ;,24 cm.


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Apr 11, 2016

A good well-balanced take on the history of Hawaii and its interaction with Europeans. Delves deeply into the era when the Kingdom of Hawaii turns into a US protectorate and later state. Really brings to life the characters and the times in which they live.

May 10, 2015

A narrative history of Hawaii that makes for pleasant and informative reading.

Nov 19, 2014

Well-researched, absorbing, and ultimately dis-spiriting book about the last years of the Hawaiian monarchy, the power of the sugar merchants, and our annexation/conquest of the 50th state. It centers on the last queen, Lili'uokalani, but there are also larger than life figures like Captain Cook, who "discovered" the islands, Sanford Dole, who was briefly the President of Hawaii, German sugar baron Claus Spreckles, and a host of fortune seekers, missionaries, and capitalists, who brought down the kingdom. It is a sad end to a proud land that is now mostly viewed as a tourist destination for mainlanders. I'd also recommend Sarah Vowell's more sardonic "Unusual Fishes."

Jun 04, 2013

'Lost Kingdom' is at times frustrating! It is not because of the magnificant story-telling or the detailed, in depth presentation of the history of Hawai'i or of its people and leaders - it is frustrating because of the obvious underhandedness of the exploiting American "invaders." Whether the "sugar kings" or the basic overthrow of "Queen Lil" you cannot but continue to read each exciting paragraph in the book!! Pearl Harbor and the Reciprocity [so called] "Treaty" was the beginning of the end for island sovereignty. I have admired the island people and sites in the past. I will do so with a greater sense of understanding on future visits.

Apr 24, 2012

Lost Kingdom is an enjoyable and important book. The warmth and grace of the native Hawaiians have impressed me on my two visits to the Islands. Their openness and lack of guile were no match for hypocritical missionaries and conniving sugar barons. An optimistic note is the fact that the sovereignty movement in Hawaii continues to gain strength. It was heartening to learn of the Akaka Bill (little covered by our media) which, if passed by Hawaii's legislature, would grant the region "nation within a nation" status similar to the authority of American Indian tribes (p. 295).

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