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Publisher's Summary

The saga of a land from the time when the volcanic islands rose out of the sea to the decade in which they become the 50th state. Michener uses individuals' experiences to symbolize the struggle of the various races to establish themselves in the islands.

©2017 James A. Michener (P)2017 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"One novel you must not miss! A tremendous work from every point of view - thrilling, exciting, lusty, vivid, stupendous." ( Chicago Tribune)
"From Michener's devotion to the islands, he has written a monumental chronicle of Hawaii, an extraordinary and fascinating novel." ( Saturday Review)

What listeners say about Hawaii

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    984
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    228
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    50
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    10
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Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    915
  • 4 Stars
    162
  • 3 Stars
    47
  • 2 Stars
    11
  • 1 Stars
    9

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Much to My Surprise, I Really Liked It

I have an Audible monthly membership, but to tell the truth, I don't really enjoy it. I keep it and get at least one book per month because I have a long commute. Having something to listen to makes the commuting easier. However, even if I like a story, I am often thrown off by the narration. It rattles me when a male narrator tries to mimic female voices and vice versa. It sounds so fake that it distracts me.

In the case of Hawaii by Michener, I truly enjoyed the narration by Larry McKeever, no jarring false voices. Besides that, I enjoyed Michener's concept of stories within at story, telling of the original Polynesian settlers, the New England missionaries, through WWII and beyond. Of Michener's books, I have only read Iberia, which is basically a non-fiction travel diary. Since I have lived in Spain twice, I was, of course, very interested.

Besides, what a bargain. 51 hours of narration for just one Audible credit! That filled a lot of commute time in a very enjoyable way.

62 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Da Kine

My first Michener book. it was a commitment which I look forward to. The first chapter was slow to me when it focused on the eons of geological development.
The book is fascinating because he covers the entire history of Hawaii and the major demographic groups that most influenced the development of Hawaii.
The book brings you through generations of people with whom you have a relationship. it is like living a life of man whose own life spans hundreds of years.
It was a great experience.

33 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

I listen to it when I can't sleep.

I really prefer long epics as I can listen to 8 hours during a day's work on the farm. I like details. But I don't feel as if I got into the flow of this sufficiently to evaluate the writing. I kept falling asleep. Which is unusual for me.

I lost the thread of the story so often due to the flat droning narration I tried listening while just sitting around. Went to sleep. Sent me to sleep so consistently that I was able to cut back on insomnia Rx.

I will give kudos to Mr. McKeever on the obvious practice he put in for pronouncing non-english words and names. I may try to finish the book some day just for that. But I think I'd enjoy it more in print.

I've tried several books he has narrated. The drone is a bit distracting in all of them. I'll not be buying more. Maybe as library loans.

Michener books need to be rerecorded before I'll buy more. Sorry.

26 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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This is a Classic

What did you love best about Hawaii?

The narrator keeps your attention focused on the story. The story is so realistic sometimes I forget it is a novel. I live in Hawaii and can perfectly picture the characters as they once lived in Hawaii.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Nyuk Tsin the Chinese woman kakooah. You will journey with her throughout her life. You feel her pain and share her happiness. I have a visual picture of her a your girl and an elderly woman in her silk jacket walking barefoot in Honolulu.

Which character – as performed by Larry McKeever and Fred Sanders - introduction – was your favorite?

I have no favorites there. They were all engaging and I was anticipating meeting them and learning more about their character.

If you could take any character from Hawaii out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Nyuk Tsin and I would want to go to her sons restaurant in China Town in Honolulu

Any additional comments?

Although this is a very long book, the format allow you to keep your place. I would recommend that if you can download the book in parts because it does take up so much disc space.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great Historical Story for anyone that wants to understand Hawaii

Great comprehensive story of Hawaii which seems very well researched with fictional characters perhaps inspired by actual missionaries, Native Hawaiian (Polynesian) Chiefs, and Chinese and Japanese immigrant families. Explains a lot about why current inhabitants of Hawaii and it’s culture are a such a mixture of these various influences and gives context for why Haoles (Caucasians) are often met with negative stereotypes (i.e. based on past control/exploitation). My only complaint was the performer’s mispronunciation of Hawaiian words like Mana and the school Punahou (should be pronounced ‘Hoe’ like the gardening tool and not ‘How’) for example. It made me cringe every time and it was referred to a lot!!

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Beautiful prose, but pretty racist

The first chapter is a thing of poetic beauty. However, after that it gets really racist, to the point that it becomes almost impossible to endure.

The white characters are portrayed as paragons of virtue, intelligence, and fortitude, while the Asian and Polynesian characters are portrayed as fairly vicious animals without intelligence or human empathy.

Perhaps in its time it was acceptable, but it’s really hard to get through in today’s world.

I can’t say I recommend it.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating

This is one of the best books I have ever “read”. I think I’ve found my new favorite author.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Fabulous Read!

This is an amazing story. I was captivated with every word. One of a very few books that I will enjoy again.

11 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Incredible story and phenomenal narration

For such a LONG book, The narration was so pleasant and soothing to listen to. This definitely captured the racist tone of the times. Each race was equally at fault - it was a different time.
It amazes me how folks cry they are offended at everything in present time.

10 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Classic masterpiece . Easy 5 Star

I have read this masterpiece several times. It is a very large book. And despite the fact it is one of my all-time favorites, I never downloaded the Audible. The 51 hours frightened me.

But I’m glad I did. This book is wonderful on Audible. The writing and the near ration works perfectly. The performance is an easy five star.

There’s not much you can add to any book or review of James Michener. He’s truly one of the best writers in the 20th century. And I think this book remains one of his all-time best ever.

Easy five star. And a huge overwhelming thumbs up

3 people found this helpful