Lost Kingdom: Hawaii's Last Queen, the Sugar Kings, and America's First Imperial Adventure

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Grove/Atlantic, Inc., Jan 3, 2012 - History - 480 pages
The New York Times–bestselling author delivers “a riveting saga about Big Sugar flexing its imperialist muscle in Hawaii . . . A real gem of a book” (Douglas Brinkley, author of American Moonshot).
Deftly weaving together a memorable cast of characters, Lost Kingdom brings to life the clash between a vulnerable Polynesian people and relentlessly expanding capitalist powers. Portraits of royalty and rogues, sugar barons, and missionaries combine into a sweeping tale of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s rise and fall.
At the center of the story is Lili‘uokalani, the last queen of Hawai‘i. Born in 1838, she lived through the nearly complete economic transformation of the islands. Lucrative sugar plantations gradually subsumed the majority of the land, owned almost exclusively by white planters, dubbed the “Sugar Kings.” Hawai‘i became a prize in the contest between America, Britain, and France, each seeking to expand their military and commercial influence in the Pacific.
The monarchy had become a figurehead, victim to manipulation from the wealthy sugar plantation owners. Lili‘u was determined to enact a constitution to reinstate the monarchy’s power but was outmaneuvered by the United States. The annexation of Hawai‘i had begun, ushering in a new century of American imperialism.
“An important chapter in our national history, one that most Americans don’t know but should.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Siler gives us a riveting and intimate look at the rise and tragic fall of Hawaii’s royal family . . . A reminder that Hawaii remains one of the most breathtaking places in the world. Even if the kingdom is lost.” —Fortune
“[A] well-researched, nicely contextualized history . . . [Indeed] ‘one of the most audacious land grabs of the Gilded Age.’” —Los Angeles Times

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - cookierooks - LibraryThing

Started out great. Got bogged down in explanations. But still a fascinating subject. I liked Strange Fishes better, more accessible. Hawaii is such an awesome place with a rich history. On visiting ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - charlie68 - LibraryThing

The author manages to make this era of Hawaii's history come alive with deep insights. Also provides the reader sufficient background to get the full perspective on the reasons of why things turned out the way they did. I won't look at Hawaii the same way again. Read full review


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About the author (2012)

Julia Flynn Siler is an award-winning journalist and author of The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty . A former foreign correspondent for Business Week and the Wall Street Journal, she is now a contributing writer for the Wall Street Journal, based out of the San Francisco bureau. Her first book, The House of Mondavi, became a New York Times bestseller. She lives in Northern California with her husband and sons. For more information, please visit www.juliaflynnsiler.com.

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