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A Military History of Sovereign Hawaii by…

A Military History of Sovereign Hawaii

by Neil Bernard Dukas

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Dukas explores an often ignored but intriguing subject: the military history of sovereign Hawai'i. The difficulty is that the really fascinating era of Hawai'i's past--before Kamehameha--is also the least documented, or is documented through a distinctly European lens. I really enjoyed finding out about the native martial art of lua and the concept of mana, though I would have liked more information on the religious aspect of Hawaiian military.

As the 19th century continued and foreign commercial interests dominated the islands, so much of the native culture was lost or twisted, and the military became a slight shadow of what it was once. It was appalling, really. A land with so many people, and their soldiers numbered from 50 to a few hundred through much of the century. Their biggest danger came from rioting sailors in port, and not much could be done about them because of fear of foreign retaliation. This section of the book felt more dull, more by-the-numbers, but I think the author handled the subject well, really.

The photographs are fantastic and the book itself is of very high quality. I appreciated that the footnotes were in brown ink, making them stand out in a wonderful way.

This is certainly a book for a select audience, but I found it quite useful and took many notes as I read. ( )
  ladycato | Mar 20, 2016 |
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