Lost Kingdom: January 17, 1893

Hawaii

Biographies have always been my first choice in reading. Sometimes I choose a person from the past; other times it is about someone who lives in our timeline. In many ways, biographies are similar to novels in that they tell a story. The major difference with non-fiction is that we know how events unfold and, for those that occur in the past, how they end. Novels, unless you look at the last page, which sometimes I do, are uncertain. There is an element of suspense.

Biographies have recognized dates, events, and historical figures. I would argue, however, that there is more mystery and tension in reality than in fiction. You may know the timing and outcome, but surprises come in the details. Even more gripping, the narratives challenge us to look at circumstances differently by creating a conversation that allows us to see comparisons and applications within our personal experience. Perhaps what makes biographical accounts most compelling is that we are in a dialogue with history.

Today, January 17, 1893, a group of businessmen known as the Sugar Kings, convinced the United States to overthrow the last Queen of Hawaii. Queen Liliuokalani, who wrote over 160 poetic melodies and chants, was the last monarch of Hawaii. In her place, the Republic of Hawaii was brought into being with Sanford Dole as president.

I have yet to finish Julia Flynn Siler’s, “Lost Kingdom: Hawaii’s Last Queen, the Sugar Kings and America’s First Imperial Adventure”. I have come to the place where Queen Liliuokalani takes a leading role in the history of Hawaii.

The people to whom your fathers told of the living God, and taught to call ‘Father,’ and whom the sons now seek to despoil and destroy, are crying aloud to Him in their time of trouble; and He will keep His promise, and will listen to the voices of His Hawaiian children lamenting for their homes.

Queen LiliuokalaniThe Waves

26 Replies to “Lost Kingdom: January 17, 1893”

    1. My dear friend – thank you so much for your nomination!! You continue to be an inspiration to the blogging community. Your dedication and generous support to other bloggers is truly appreciated by us all.

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  1. “a dialogue with history” I love how you put this. A good biography is so engaging, you are right.

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    1. Funny thing about history – it doesn’t take long before our present becomes a historical reality. 🙂

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    1. Thanks, Cindy! I confess technology is keeping me on my toes these days. There is always something new to learn – and that is a good thing, I keep on telling myself! 🙂

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    1. You would love it Cindy! There is so much depth to this Queen! And I’m just getting into the part where she becomes Queen.

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    1. I know exactly what you mean! If only we have 30 hours in the day, we could have 6 extra hours for reading! 🙂

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      1. A kindred spirit!

        “Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life.”Brian Andreas

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    1. While this is not a happy ending escape (The Queen ends up in prison), Queen Liliuokalani displays a profound sense of nobility, of courage, of determination. She lived by her words, “Be steadfast in seeking of knowledge”. She built schools for the youth of Hawaii and worked diligently to preserve the environment. I have learned a great deal from her example! 🙂

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    1. Indeed there is a poignancy to this narrative. Sanford Dole was not the founder of the Hawaiian pineapple Company on Oahu, which later became the Dole Food Company. But he was connected – he was the cousin once removed of James Dole who was the founder.

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  2. This biography sounds fascinating. I prefer biographies of lesser known people. Those about the so-called “greats” are usually too whitewashed or mudslinging to be truly accurate.

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    1. I think that you would enjoy this biography – it is a page-tuner. I agree with you on choosing biographies wisely. I simply do not have the time to read all the books that I would like and I have became more careful in my choices. Accuracy and objectivity are essential.

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