America Goes Hawaiian

“At last, someone takes Hawai’i seriously, combining a scholar’s eye and a fanatic’s devotion to showing how small islands in the middle of nowhere changed our world, making it a richer and better place.”—Jerry Hopkins, author, The Hula, Romancing the East and No One Here Gets Out Alive.

How did Hawaiian and Polynesian culture come to dramatically alter American music, fashion and decor, as well as ideas about race, in less than a century? It began with mainland hula and musical performances in the late 19th century, rose dramatically as millions shipped to Hawaii during the Pacific War, then made big leap with the advent of low-cost air travel. By the end of the 1950s, mainlanders were hosting tiki parties, listening to exotic music, lazing on rattan furniture in Hawaiian shirts and, of course, surfing. Increasingly, they were marrying people outside of their own racial groups as well. The author describes how this cultural conquest came about and the people and events that led to it.

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