Sarah Vowell returns, this time Hawaii. First, I suck at pronouncing Hawaiian names. In , a tiny, odd-looking girl named Marie is born in a village in Switzerland. Especially if you consider t I chose to read this after honeymooning in Hawaii and glimpsing the native culture, as well as a barely perceptible undercurrent of malice toward the islands’ many “haole” tourists. I am not at all interested in Hawaii, but was sure that I would be once I heard Sarah Vowell’s version of it. William McKinley decided it was good old “American Manifest Destiny” and figured out a back door to get annexation through anyway. For the record, I don’t read much non-fiction, and find history to be an incredibly dry and boring subject, so this three-star rating is a rather complimentary one, considering the reader. Definitely, one of the few historical narratives that entertains while informing.

Entertaining up to a point, but too intertwined with the writer and her own agenda to pass for history. I started prior to my trip to Hawaii, and finished it after so some of it was good history. Sometimes the pause seemed to go on and on with a tiny section 7 words or so read by the celeb. It is definitely an underdog story. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Vowell the historian starts to come through stronger in the second half.

This book is just an endless string of names and places, and I just had the hardest time keeping track of who was doing what and where. If you want to know how we came to acquire Hawaii, read this. But she probably is close to about as equally obsessed. They translated the Bible into a new written form of Hawai’ian and, from there, others wrote down all the chants and religion and myths and culture they could to preserve it.

In their wake, Hawaii was changed Sarah Vowell is a history buff and has written several books on the subject. If you want to be entertained while being educated, Vowell, though more wryly and less hysterically funny than Bill Bryson, is a perfect choice.

Ultimately, this book could have been a lot of things, but it just wasn’t. Vowell has done to create this masterful story. I can’t tell if the problem was me — I think I really wan I thought that after a year of grad school I would never want to voluntarily read nonfiction again.

REVIEW – Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell – That’s What She Read

Unfamikiar would definitely love to push it on everyone. It also helped that I’ve been to many of the ufnamiliar Vowell talks about. The white man’s ships have arrived with clever men from the big countries. Lists with This Book. Weinstein The Dalles, OR Kipling later wrote, “I never got over the wonder of people who, having extirpated audikbook aboriginals of their continent more completely than any modern race has ever done, honestly believed they were godly Vowell is a thorough researcher and a wonderful writer — switching seamlessly between historian, travel writer and humorist.


Readers who are anxious to learn what Sarah Vowell thinks about lots of things will be satisfied. It was amazing Personally, I feel like that’s pretty fair and understandable. Her snark and conversational tone are here – adding to the light and quick-reading nature of the text.

All in all, I was just very underwhelmed and would recommend that if you’re new to Vowell you try one of her other books first unless you’re absolutely fascinated by the topic. There are tie-ins with stories ranging from Genesis to the invasion of Iraq.

My only complaint – she never does explain the omnipresent macaroni salad. Based on their interpretation of the Bible, the Christians believed they had the right to possess the land for their own purposes, usually meaning ownership and uses belonged to the person who bought the property.

Throughout, she reveals how American history can show up in the most unexpected places in our modern culture, often in unexpected ways. While having the actors become a unique voice for the various real-life figures quoted in the book lends credence to the narration and gives it a true documentary-type feel, the author as the primary narrator is not a voice that lends itself well to easy listening.

Kara Johnson I’d say anyone with an interest in Hawaii, and history in general. The book of hers it most resembles, which is unsurprising in retrospect, is her next-most-recent book, The Wordy Shipmates.

REVIEW – Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell

Maybe the problem is that the Goodreads star descriptions don’t work for people. Julia Flynn Siler Narrated by: Sarah Vowell exposes audiobpok glorious conundrums of American history and culture with wit, probity, and an irreverent sense of humor. It was a very interesting book, one I think you would like very much. I liked this book. In the end, the author sums up her own book as “a story of how people like us ruined this place.


Sarah Vowell does it again!

Hmm, interesting, maybe that can come in useful later… Hmm? While Unfamiliar Fishes was well-researched and I learned quite a bit, I found it tedious and a bit dull. Of all the countries the United States invaded or colonized inVowell considers the story of the Americanization of Hawaii to be the most intriguing.

It makes for interesting bedtime reading because you never get to a stopping point. Certain sections are deeply compelling even without Vowell’s involvement in the topic. Sarah Vowell doesn’t really need academia.

The society was highly stratified with bloodlines of chiefs and a feudalistic system of land division. Oh man Sarah Vowell is so good, so fascinating.

Vowell is a historian for the ADD world. If you can manage it, I recommend visiting Hawaii at least once. An incestuous princess pulled between her new god and her brother-husband. It offers great backstories to the many historical markers you would normally walk by as a tourist getting to your snorkel boat or Mai Tai.

Vowell recounts the unraveling of the warrior kings, the arrival of the first missionaries, and all the way up to the end of the Hawaiian nation when Queen Liliuokalani was removed from her throne, the provisional government was established and Sanford Dole became president of the Republic of Unfajiliar.

With Vowell’s trademark wry insights and reporting, she sets out to discover the odd, emblematic, and exceptional history of the 50th state. This is a good book, but not a great book.

Unfamiliar Fishes works best as a companion piece to a greater, more in-depth history. Vowell does a great job of presenting her information in an informative way, but for some confusing chronological meandering.

Unfamiliar Fishes

The end results, including the loss of sovereignty and the eventual annexation by the U. Sarah Vowell talking about herself. It’s odd to find myself saying it, but I wanted Vowell to talk more.

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