“She walked down the palace steps toward a horse-drawn carriage. Four footmen in white knee breeches carried the train of her lavender silk gown. She was fifty-four years old and strands of silver ran through her black hair. Despite her many sorrows, Hawaii’s queen walked with dignity. On that January day in 1893, she was determined to right a wrong.”
Julia Flynn Siler, “Lost Kingdom: Hawaii’s Last Queen, the Sugar Kings and America’s First Imperial Adventure”
Whenever I read or hear the word “last,” I experience an unaccountable sadness. Perhaps it is because there is a feeling of finality – the last word, the last song, the last breath. And yet, I know intuitively, it also signals a new beginning that draws on and is stimulated by what has come before.
Those were my sentiments as I started to read “Lost Kingdom: Hawaii’s Last Queen, the Sugar Kings and America’s First Imperial Adventure,” by Julia Flynn Siler, the next book on my 2013 Reading Program. There have been many accounts of Hawaii’s history, but I was particularly interested in the Queen who presided over the cultural, social and economic transition of an island paradise.
The narrative is riveting, and encompasses many universal themes that are present in our current reality. Julia Flynn Siler’s writing style is crisp and perceptive as she sweeps readers into an epic where nations battle over a tiny kingdom surrounded by a vast ocean. I’m just at the beginning – stay tuned for updates.
“Siler’s “Lost Kingdom” is a riveting saga about Big Sugar flexing its imperialist muscle in Hawaii … A real gem of a book.”
Douglas Brinkley, author of “Cronkite”