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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Michener's best -- Among my top 5 books of all-time
Early in the book, Michener tells a story of how man first arrived on Hawaii. The story is incredibly exciting and dramatic. What makes it so interesting is that his story couldn't possibly be too far from the truth.
Hawaii is so distant from any other island. How could anyone have found it except by sheer luck? It's just fascinating to think about the...
Published on Feb. 5 2004 by S. McCloskey

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the Michener perspective I expected
This book was not the Michener perspective I was expecting. While vacationing in Hawaii I wanted to learn more about the islands and its fascinating history that had been described to us by a flamboyant kayaking guide. He spoke of the inter-island wars and various ritual grounds throughout the islands - what was mana and kapu. The first book I had read of Michener's...
Published on July 24 2001 by David G. Phillips


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the Michener perspective I expected, July 24 2001
By 
This review is from: Hawaii (Mass Market Paperback)
This book was not the Michener perspective I was expecting. While vacationing in Hawaii I wanted to learn more about the islands and its fascinating history that had been described to us by a flamboyant kayaking guide. He spoke of the inter-island wars and various ritual grounds throughout the islands - what was mana and kapu. The first book I had read of Michener's was Centennial, which illuminated the American Indians and the first explorers and seemed to balance the two different societies. Ten years later reading my second Michener novel, Hawaii, I realize he is not as fine a writer as I remember.
Hawaii proved to be far inferior to Centennial and spent a great deal of time on the missionaries and their unfortunate forceful conversion of the native Hawaiians. The book started out with the painful and violent uprising of the Hawaiian volcanoes. The main characters started out around 900 C.E., with Teroro of Bora Bora leading the first expedition to Hawaii. This portion of the book was what I expected and I felt like I learned a great deal during these first two chapters. However, Michener inexplicably skips ahead to the 18th century and the proselytism of the Hawaiian natives. It felt as if the thousand years he skipped over were insignificant, which I found disappointing.
The missionary conversion and importation of various Asian societies seemed to drag on a bit too long. I did find the American corporate coup d'état of the Hawaiian monarchy interesting, but it dragged on endlessly; and then the bombing of Pearl Harbor was hastily written. Further, even though it is a 1000 page book and mistakes are expected, I found way too many grammatical and spelling errors throughout. The book ended on a better note with the notion of the Golden Men and a new age of tolerance, but I was looking forward to finishing the book - definitely not a great book, try Centennial instead.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cardboard cutouts, July 27 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Hawaii (Mass Market Paperback)
Like all of Michener's books, which are considerable in number, Hawaii was educational more than completely enthralling. Michener does not create true literature, instead he generates literally thousands of cardboard cutout characters that move around and sometimes even bump into each other in exact replication of actual historical events! Think of a very colorful and detailed diorama with factually accurate period pieces and almost lifelike wax figures representing important events in history. It is sometimes pleasing to the eye, and it is always informative, but storyline and characters rarely rise above the level of a daytime soap opera. This same criticism could apply to virtually all of Michener's historical works.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A long philosophical and boring book!, April 3 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Hawaii (Mass Market Paperback)
Everyone told me that the book would be exciting, tremendous, thrilling and vivid, yet when I started reading I felt that Michener was dragging the story, not giving any progress, not letting the reader hold on to something, it was very frustrating to read the first 10-15 pages. After that chapter I was waiting for some improvement. The improvement came yet the second I felt I was connecting to the characters the book jumped forwards some 200 years. The book isn't written in an organized way and I am sorry I hadn't enjoyed it as much as some of the people who wrote other reviews.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Michener's best -- Among my top 5 books of all-time, Feb. 5 2004
By 
S. McCloskey "sean1000" (California) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hawaii (Mass Market Paperback)
Early in the book, Michener tells a story of how man first arrived on Hawaii. The story is incredibly exciting and dramatic. What makes it so interesting is that his story couldn't possibly be too far from the truth.
Hawaii is so distant from any other island. How could anyone have found it except by sheer luck? It's just fascinating to think about the extraordinary circumstances that must have arisen to compel a sufficiently large group of primitive people to leave their home and venture far out to sea.
I first read this book about 16 years ago when I was a freshman in college. I stayed up all night reading it right in the middle of finals week, but I couldn't put it down. Since then, I have read most of Michener's books but still rate Hawaii as his best.
It is always interesting to follow Michener's overlapping generations of characters. As the protagonists age, we gradually get to know their offspring. Each generation is a wild card. Some children further the good intentions and fortunes of their parents and others set the whole community back generations. The smooth transition between generations is the main reason it is so hard to stop reading.
In classic Michener style, he frequently changes perspectives (native Hawaiian, American missionaries, Chinese, Japanese) and the reader can't help but feel compassion and understanding for each side of a conflict. Not that Michener is afraid to cast blame. Because he portrays each side so honestly, his political message has more credibility and is even more effective.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Just as good as it was the first time I read it, July 1 2014
By 
spider queen "spider queen" (Northern Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hawaii: A Novel (Kindle Edition)
Just as good as it was the first time I read it, when it was first published. I hadn't expected it to hold up as well as it did. Seems to be based in sound research, at least for the time, and delivers nicely the way the history of people, their characters and actions, morphs over time into something completely false.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Life time Classic!, June 2 2014
This review is from: Hawaii (Mass Market Paperback)
Thirty years ago I daily read this book on the 102 Monkland bus.

I was transported not only to work but to Hawaii. I learned about the incredible ingenuity and bravery of sea-farers as they sought home, happiness and future. So near and yet so far.

Eleanor Cowan, author of: A History of a Pedophile's Wife: Memoir of a Canadian Teacher and Writer
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1.0 out of 5 stars Good Bye Amazon, April 19 2014
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This review is from: Hawaii: A Novel (Kindle Edition)
I NEVER received it. But you got YOUR money. Wont use you again!!! One Two Three Four Five Six Seven
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5.0 out of 5 stars Epic in scale, minutely detailed and artistically written!, March 25 2014
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This review is from: Hawaii: A Novel (Kindle Edition)
Michener created a wonderful masterpiece that takes the reader from the formation of those beautiful volcanoes all the way to the golden 1950's. My words cannot do this book justice, but I will read this epic tome again and again!
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4.0 out of 5 stars One of his great historical fiction efforts, Feb. 23 2014
By 
Maurice A. Rhodes (BC Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hawaii: A Novel (Kindle Edition)
Although Michener can get a bit tedious sometimes. . ."in the beginning. . . ,") I think that these tales show excellent research. The characterization is sometimes cardboard and sometimes we wish he could move the pace a bit, the story was as interesting now as it was years ago. But his books are an entertaining way of grasping the essential history of his subject while still being entertained.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book, Feb. 18 2014
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This review is from: Hawaii (Mass Market Paperback)
Since we were traveling to Hawaii I chose this book to take along. I know it has been a favorite for decades, but I have never gotten around to reading it. As Michener always does so well, he provides a history of an area along with a great story. It was an essential part of a very enjoyable trip for me. I recommend pairing his books with your travels.
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Hawaii
Hawaii by James A. Michener (Mass Market Paperback - Sept. 12 1986)
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