The Hawai’i of the travel brochures is a lush tropical destination for millions of visitors every year. But the familiar image of a Pacific paradise barely scratches the surface of the rich history and fascinating culture of the real Hawai’I—and in this evocative, eclectic, and unfailingly engaging book, novelist Susanna Moore shows us a hidden realm no tourist is likely to see.
She interweaves her own memories of growing up in Honolulu in the 1950s and ’60s with a concise chronicle of Hawai’I’s two-hundred-year encounter with the West—from the great explorer Captain Cook to the American missionaries who followed in his wake to the nineteenth-century haole landowners whose enormous plantations and close-knit society reshaped island life. By turns a sweeping, romantic tale of native kings and ancient ritual and a vividly drawn, personal memoir of a world that is now all but gone, I Myself Have Seen It unfolds against a fascinating backdrop of Polynesian myth whose ocean spirits and fire gods still cast powerful spells.
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