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Krystal Narusaki

February 16, 2016

Holoholo Book Review

Professor Wertheimer

LIS 615

In a Queen’s= Voice

 <= /o:p>

HRH Queen Lili`uokalani, Hawaii’s Story= By Hawaii’s Queen. Honolulu, Hawaii: Hui Hānai (1300 Hālona Stre= et, Honolulu, Hawaii 96817), 2013. 460p. ISBN 978-0-988278-2-3 (hc), $35.00. Il= lus (b&w). Index.

 

Hawaii’s Sto= ry By Hawaii’s Queen is an autobiography written by the last reigning monarch of the Kingdom of Hawai`i, Queen Lili`uokalani.  The = book chronicles her life experiences including childhood, married life, and ascension to th= e throne.  It covers an important period in Hawaii= an history including the overthrow of the Hawaiian government, the Queen’s imprisonment, trial, and subsequent appeals. Although the book reads as a memoir, Lili`uokalani’s primary goal was to expose the American interventio= n in Hawai`i’s politics and make a public plea to Americans to hopefully generate sympathy and aid in her restoration to the throne. 

 

Queen Lili`uokalani was born Lydia Lili`u Loloku Walania Wewehi Kamaka`eha but she was known as Lydia Kamaka`eha Pākī.  She ascended the throne in January of 1892 following the death of her brother, King David Kalākaua.   Early in her reign she began drafting a new constitution to restore = veto rights to the monarchy and voting rights to Native Hawaiians and Asians.  This upset a group of American and Euro= pean businessmen who then deposed the Queen.  In 1893 the Hawaiian government was overthrown and there were plans = to annex Hawai`i to America.  Three ye= ars after the Queen’s imprisonment in 1895, Hawaii’s Story By Hawaii’s Queen was published. This autobiography serves as a vital historical reco= rd of the events surrounding the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, as well as a glimpse into the life of one of the most powerful female figures in the his= tory of Hawai`i. 

 

The book is filled with stunning black & white photos provided by the Hawai= `i State Archives, Bishop Museum, Queen’s Medical Center Historic Collection, = and also private collections such as the Virgnia Dominis Koch Collection.  There are numerous photos of the people= in Queen Lili`uokalani’s life which help put faces to names, as well as many formal shots of the Queen herself in beautiful gowns which exhibit the fash= ion of the times.  Many photographs throughout the book were taken at formal functions that the Queen attended,= but of equal importance are the candid shots also included which help capture t= he feelings of the era.

 

Hawaii’s Sto= ry By Hawaii’s Queen begins formal in prose while chronicling her earlier years but the writing becomes emotionally charged and reads more as a narrative as we reach the present t= ime in which Lili`uokalani was writing the book.  Overall, the book is beautifully written and a compelling read writt= en with heart, depth, and sincerity.  = Queen Lili`uokalani was an accomplished writer of numerous songs and musical compositions.  Hawaii’s Story By Hawaii’s Queen was Queen Lili`uokalani’s first and only book to be published, but it did put her on the map as the first N= ative Hawaiian female author as well as the only Hawaiian monarchy to write an autobiography.

 

The 2013 edition is based on the original 1898 edition but includes additional images.  It is annotated by David F= orbes, an internationally recognized historian and bibliographer whose specialty i= s in areas of Hawaiian history.  Typogra= phic errors and spelling mistakes in the original publication have been corrected for the 2013 edition.  The 2013 edi= tion also includes a history of the publication of the 1898 edition as well as passages that were omitted from the first publication for being deemed too = subversive. 

 

The 2013 edition was published by Hui Hānai which is an auxiliary group to= the Queen Lili`uokalani Children’s Center.  Hui Hānai was founded in 1969 and they began publishing works of Queen Lili`uokalani in 1973 with a goal of perpetuating her memory.

 

This hardcover reprint version of the book features wide margins and sturdy bind= ing but the price is a little high.  Th= ere are also paperback versions of the book available.  Another drawback of the hardcover editi= on is that it is not printed on acid free paper.  Despite these drawbacks, Haw= aii’s Story By Hawaii’s Queen is a recommended title for Hawaii/Pacific public libraries or academic library collections.

 

Reviewed by Krystal Narusaki, LIS Student, University of Hawaii at Manoa, February 2= 016.

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