by David Davis
University of Nebraska Press, 2015
Waterman is the first comprehensive biography of Duke Kahanamoku (1890–1968): swimmer, surfer, Olympic gold medalist, Hawaiian icon, and waterman. Kahanamoku become America’s first superstar Olympic swimmer. He was at the top of the world rankings for more than a decade; his rivalry with Johnny Weissmuller transformed competitive swimming from an insignificant sideshow into a headliner event. Kahanamoku used his Olympic renown to introduce the sport of surfing, an activity unknown outside the Hawaiian Islands, to the world. Kahanamoku’s connection to his homeland was equally important. Born when Hawai‘i was an independent kingdom, he served as the sheriff of Honolulu during the attack on Pearl Harbor and World War II, and as a globetrotting “Ambassador of Aloha” afterward. He died shortly after Hawai‘i became a state. (Adapted from the publisher’s website.)
David Davis is the author of three books on sports history. His work has appeared in anthologies including The Best American Sports Writing.
by Gary Pak
University of Hawaii Press, 2013
Gary Pak’s latest novel is the story of two Korean-American brothers, Nam Kun and Nam Ki Han, raised in a devout Christian household on a Hawaiian plantation. Following their father’s death, Nam Kun works to support his mother and younger brother, but distances himself from the same Christian faith his remaining family clings to. Years later, at the start of the Korean War, Nam Ki is drafted into the army—an occurrence Nam Kun believes will make a man out of his younger brother. However, the need to kill clashes with Nam Ki’s religious convictions, and the ethical turmoil that follows is soothed only when he meets and falls in love with a young Korean, Christian woman. Nam Ki vows to return for her once the war ends, but upon doing so learns that she has fallen into an ignominious lifestyle, confronting him with a final choice between faith and flesh.
Gary Pak is a third-generation Korean-American. He received his BA from Boston University and his MA and PhD from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, where he is currently a professor of English. His published fiction includes the novels A Ricepaper Airplane and Children of a Fireland, as well as the short story collections The Watcher of Waipuna and Other Stories, and Language of the Geckos. He is the recipient of the 1992 Elliot Cades Literary Prize, as well as a 2002 Fulbright award to Seoul, South Korea.
by Mari Kubo
Finishing Line Press, 2013
In her new poetry chapbook, A Japanese Girl Speaks (forthcoming from Finishing Line Press), Mari Kubo “[expresses] the magic in ordinary moments with delicate images and sly humor” (Dana Naone Hall).
Mari Kubo was raised in Hilo and Honolulu, Hawai’i, and began writing poetry and fiction in her youth. She received her undergraduate degree in English from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, and her MA in Creative Writing from Boston University. Her poems and fiction have been published at both the state and national levels. She currently lives in Hilo.
by Pamela Frierson
Trinity University Press (forthcoming)
The Last Atoll: Exploring Hawai’i’s Endangered Ecosystems is Pamela Frierson’s first-person account of her journey up the Hawaiian Archipelago to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The most commonly known islands of the archipelago, from east to northwest, are Hawaiʻi, Maui, Kahoʻolawe, Lānaʻi, Molokaʻi, Oʻahu, Kauaʻi, and Niʻihau. The distance from the eastern shore of Hawaiʻi island to the western shore of Niʻihau is roughly 380 miles. The entire archipelago, however, stretches for about another 900 miles to the northwest. On the tiny islands beyond Niʻihau, ecosystems are allowed to exist more or less untouched by the urbanization that is occurring on the principal islands of Hawaiʻi, especially on Oʻahu. Although these ecosystems remain mostly undisturbed, they are beginning to feel the effects of the world beyond their shores.
Pamela Frierson is the author of The Burning Island, and numerous articles and essays about the Pacific world. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, including The World Between Waves, A Thousand Leagues of Blue, and Intimate Nature. She is one of forty-four writers invited by Barry Lopez to write original work for Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape, featured on NPR’s “Living on Earth” program. In 2012, she received the Hawai`i Elliot Cades Award.
By Gary Y. Okihiro
University of California Press, 2008
In Island World, Gary Y. Okihiro reconsiders the traditional idea that the United States acts upon and dominates Hawai‘i without the Islands in turn acting upon the mainland U.S. Using geology, folklore, music, cultural commentary, and history, Okihiro reveals Hawaiians fighting in the Civil War, sailing on nineteenth-century New England ships, and living in pre-gold rush California. He points to Hawai‘i’s lingering effect on twentieth-century American culture—from surfboards, hula, sports, and films, to art, imagination, and racial perspectives—even as the islands themselves succumb slowly to the continental United States. This book not only revises the way we think about islands, oceans, and continents, but also recasts the way we write about place and history.(Publisher’s description)
Gary Y. Okihiro is Professor of International and Public Affairs and Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University. His recent works include Common Ground: Reimagining American History.