10 books like Hawaiian Antiquities

By David Malo,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Hawaiian Antiquities. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Polynesian Family System in Ka'u, Hawai'i

By E. S. Craighill Handy, Mary Kawena Pukui,

Book cover of The Polynesian Family System in Ka'u, Hawai'i

Despite the scholarly title, this book is a highly readable account of traditional Hawaiian culture in Ka‘ū, the southernmost district of the Big Island of Hawai‘i. Mary Kawena Pukui (1895–1986) was a preeminent Hawaiian scholar, author, composer, hula expert, and educator. She was born and raised in Ka‘ū, a remote, rural area where the old culture endured outside of the Westernization of the islands. In 1935 she traveled home with anthropologist E.S. Handy to gather information from her elders. Their book provides details and insights about the district’s history and ecology, the legendary setting (gods and spirits), the extended household and kinship system, the life cycle of individuals, manners and customs, and the relationships between people and ancestral spirits and animals.

The Polynesian Family System in Ka'u, Hawai'i

By E. S. Craighill Handy, Mary Kawena Pukui,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Polynesian Family System in Ka'u, Hawai'i as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This classic book on Hawaiian families and culture is an essential text for anyone interested in pre-American Hawaii.

The Polynesian Family System in Ka-'U, Hawai'i is a collaboration of the distinguished scholars Dr. Mary Puku and Dr. E.S. Craighill Handy. It provides us with this fascinating review of traditional Hawaiian life. Manners and customs relating to birth, death, marriage, sexual practices, religious beliefs, and family relationship are all clearly described. The main sources of information were elderly Hawaiian informants of then remote Kacu district of the island of Hawaii.

This Hawaiian history and culture book provides professional scholars and laymen…


Ruling Chiefs of Hawaiʻi

By Samuel M. Kamakau,

Book cover of Ruling Chiefs of Hawaiʻi

Samuel Manaiakalani Kamakau (1815–1876) was one of the most important and prolific Hawaiian scholars of the nineteenth century. His history of the ruling chiefs of Hawai‘i begins with the high chief ʻUmi, eight generations before Kamehameha I, who established the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1795, and continues to the death of Kamehameha III in 1854. Ruling Chiefs, published in 1961, was translated from Hawaiian newspaper articles that appeared in the 1860s and 1870s. The stories include Captain James Cook’s arrival in 1776, the coming of Western missionaries, and the changes that followed. All of the writings of Kamakau are highly recommended, including The People of Old, The Works of the People of Old, and The Tales and Traditions of the People of Old.

Ruling Chiefs of Hawaiʻi

By Samuel M. Kamakau,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ruling Chiefs of Hawaiʻi as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Eighteenth-century Hawaiian historian Samuel Mānaiakalani Kamakau traces Hawaiʻi’s history from ʻUmi, high chief eight generations before Kamehameha I, to the death of Kamehameha III in 1854. This volume covers the arrival of Captain James Cook, the consolidation of the Hawaiian kingdom by Kamehameha I, the coming of the missionaries, and the changes affecting the kingdom through the reign of Kamehameha III.

This history was originally written by Kamakau in Hawaiian as a series of newspaper articles in the 1860s and 1870s. The English translation was completed by a team of esteemed Hawaiian scholars including Mary Kawena Pukui, Thomas G. Thrum,…


Hawaiian Fishing Traditions

By Moke Manu, Dennis Kawaharada (editor),

Book cover of Hawaiian Fishing Traditions

Hawaiian Fishing Traditions celebrates famous Hawaiian fishermen. Fish was the main source of protein. The first story, by Moke Manu, tells of Kū‘ula-kai, who became deified as a god of fishermen because of his power to control fish. He built the first fishpond, in Hāna, Maui, to supply the chief and people with food. His son ‘Ai‘ai, featured in the second story, continued his father’s good work by locating offshore fishing grounds and teaching the people how to catch fish, practice conservation, and distribute the catch with generosity. Also included are the stories of other legendary fishermen and of battles with man-eating sharks. Two articles in the appendix describe the vast array of traditional fishing methods; a third article gives an anthropological account of the worship of shark gods.

Hawaiian Fishing Traditions

By Moke Manu, Dennis Kawaharada (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hawaiian Fishing Traditions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A celebration of the great fisherman of ancient Hawaii, known for attracting and propagating fish, inventing fishing techniques, and bringing in extraordinary catches.


Hawaiki Rising

By Sam Low,

Book cover of Hawaiki Rising: Hōkūle‘a, Nainoa Thompson, and the Hawaiian Renaissance

How did Polynesians navigate without instruments in voyaging canoes made with stone-age tools to discover and settle an isolated island chain in the middle of the Pacific, over 2,000 miles from their ancestral homelands in Tahiti and the Marquesas? Their navigational practices are lost in time, but the Polynesian Voyaging Society was established in 1975 to explore how it might have been done. Low tells the story of the society’s early work, a marvelous combination of adventure, exploration, and research that contributed to the contemporary revival of the spirit, pride, values, and traditions of the ancient culture. Also highly recommended on this subject are books by the three founders of the Polynesian Voyaging Society: artist and scholar Herb Kawaianui Kane, anthropologist Ben Finney, and writer and waterman Tommy Holmes.

Hawaiki Rising

By Sam Low,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hawaiki Rising as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Attuned to a world of natural signs-the stars, the winds, the curl of ocean swells-Polynesian explorers navigated for thousands of miles without charts or instruments. They sailed against prevailing winds and currents aboard powerful double canoes to settle the vast Pacific Ocean. And they did this when Greek mariners still hugged the coast of an inland sea, and Europe was populated by stone-age farmers. Yet by the turn of the twentieth century, this story had been lost and Polynesians had become an oppressed minority in their own land. Then, in 1975, a replica of an ancient Hawaiian canoe-Hokule'a-was launched to…


Hawaiian Mythology

By Martha Warren Beckwith,

Book cover of Hawaiian Mythology

First published in 1940, Hawaiian Mythology is an astonishingly comprehensive compilation of native Hawaiian stories and beliefs that, had it not been for the systematic – even dogged – efforts of people like Martha Beckwith may have never survived to today. This is a book to dip into, especially if you find yourself in Polynesia. The stories are factual, often unembellished, which allows you a glimpse into the soul of Pacific peoples. This book also explores the connections between (remote) Hawaii and other island groups in the western Pacific whence its people came, bearing oral memories that seeded the geography of Hawaii and directed the nature of its human occupation, probably hundreds of years before Europeans even knew the Pacific Ocean existed.

Hawaiian Mythology

By Martha Warren Beckwith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hawaiian Mythology as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ku and Hina―man and woman―were the great ancestral gods of heaven and earth for the ancient Hawaiians. They were life's fruitfulness and all the generations of mankind, both those who are to come and those already born.

The Hawaiian gods were like great chiefs from far lands who visited among the people, entering their daily lives sometimes as humans or animals, sometimes taking residence in a stone or wooden idol. As years passed, the families of gods grew and included the trickster Maui, who snared the sun, and fiery Pele of the volcano.

Ancient Hawaiians lived by the animistic philosophy…


The Best of Bamboo Ridge

By Eric Chock (editor), Darrell H. Y. Lum (editor),

Book cover of The Best of Bamboo Ridge

Bamboo Ridge Press was established in 1978 to publish the multiethnic literature of Hawai’i. In this selection the best of its first eight years, the writers, of various ancestries, celebrate their families, cultures, and traditions, but also the cultures and traditions of others—a Hawaiian poet writes about a Tang fisherman; a poet of Chinese-Japanese ancestry and a writer of Puerto Rican ancestry reflect on Hawaiian activism; a white poet features bodhisattvas and Kuan Yin while another dedicates her song to a Hawaiian musician. Native Hawaiian writers are underrepresented in this collection published during a renaissance of Hawaiian culture, but a year earlier, in 1985, Bamboo Ridge also published Mālama: Hawaiian Land and Sea, an anthology of Native Hawaiian writers.

The Best of Bamboo Ridge

By Eric Chock (editor), Darrell H. Y. Lum (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Best of Bamboo Ridge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Poetry. Fiction. This anthology of fiction and poetry is a good introductory survey of Hawai'i literature. Selected from issues of the first eight years of BAMBOO RIDGE, The Hawaii Writers' Quarterly, it features the work of more than 50 writers and includes an introduction by the editors as well as an essay on Asian american literature in Hawai'i by Stephen Sumida.


Diamond Head

By Cecily Wong,

Book cover of Diamond Head

Frank Leong is a wealthy shipping industrialist who moves his family from China to Oahu at the turn of the nineteenth century. Frank is murdered, which completely destroys his family. Whispers of an ancient parable haunt the Leongs, of a red string that connects someone to their perfect match but can also punish for mistakes in love. Frank’s pregnant teenage granddaughter, Theresa, is the next target to suffer from her family’s curse. The story is told from multiple points of view in this tragic multigenerational story of secrets and betrayal. My own interest in family history made this novel resonate deeply within me as several generations of women fail in their relationships.

Diamond Head

By Cecily Wong,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Diamond Head as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Diamond Head is an intricate meditation on what is in our control and what is fate—and on whether children must bear the costs of their parents’ mistakes.” —Celeste Ng, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere

At the turn of the nineteenth century, Frank Leong, a fabulously wealthy shipping industrialist, moves his family from China to the island of Oahu. But something ancient follows the Leongs to Hawaii, haunting them. The parable of the red string of fate, the cord that binds one intended beloved to her perfect match, also punishes…


'Ewa Which Way

By Tyler Miranda,

Book cover of 'Ewa Which Way

This coming-of-age story is powerful, immediate, and like a bloody scraped knee, painfully evocative of the transition between childhood and adulthood. I loved this book for its ability to show all the complicated rules, expectations, and entanglements of being a kid trying to make sense out of adult behavior. Set in ‘Ewa Beach, Hawai‘i, in 1982, Landon and Luke face prejudices of class and race, their parents’ alcohol abuse and valium popping coping mechanisms, and sheer dysfunction. Landon shares his reality with heartbreaking twelve-year-old clarity.   

'Ewa Which Way

By Tyler Miranda,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 'Ewa Which Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fiction. EWA WHICH WAY is a coming-of-age novel set in the early 1980s, around the time of Hurricane ‘Iwa. The DeSilva family, in economic straits, has suffered the setback of having to move from town to Ewa Beach, and the dissonance between parents impacts the lives of their young sons, Landon and Luke. In addition to humorous moments of growing up local, Portuguese, and Catholic, there are serious underlying themes regarding religion, ethnic tensions, assimilation issues, domestic violence, and the reality that children sometimes need to find their own way in the world at a very young age. With problems…


Bound in Flame

By Katherine Kayne,

Book cover of Bound in Flame

I truly enjoy historical fiction that presents a culture or era from a different point of view. This one is set in early twentieth-century Hawaii. It features a girl, Letty, returning from a boarding school on the mainland. Letty’s devoted to animals, and she is one of the first female veterinarians in history. She jumps into the ocean to save a horse. Her healing powers are strengthened by her connection to the ancient Hawaiian land. The undercurrent of power gives this novel a fantasy feel, but it doesn’t lose its historical aspect. Then Letty learns the price of her healing power—her kisses can kill. Even worse, she’s attracted to the man who owns the horse she saved. 

Bound in Flame

By Katherine Kayne,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bound in Flame as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Lose yourself in the magic of old Hawaii with award-winning author Katherine Kayne . . .

Letty Lang is a suffragist of the most fearless kind, with a bullwhip, big plans, and ancient power she doesn’t understand. Will a fast horse and a stubborn man derail her dreams?

Banished to boarding school to tame her wild temper, Leticia Lili‘uokalani Lang sails home to Hawaii, bringing her devotion to animals with her. She’ll be among the first female veterinarians in history—most remarkable in 1909 when women still cannot vote.

With one mad leap into the ocean to save a horse, Letty…


Who Killed Jane Stanford?

By Richard White,

Book cover of Who Killed Jane Stanford?

A page-turned, a Gilded Age whodunit, and a case study in how to dig and dig and dig into the historical record. This Stanford professor’s brilliant expose of the Stanford family and the university two of them founded is at its best when it reveals two things: how the public and private worlds of the rich and powerful (then and now) are utterly at odds with one another, and just how strange those private realms could (and can) be. Oh, and a murderer revealed, if but for a moment.

Who Killed Jane Stanford?

By Richard White,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Who Killed Jane Stanford? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1885 Jane and Leland Stanford co-founded a university to honour their recently deceased young son. After her husband's death in 1893, Jane Stanford, a devoted spiritualist who expected the university to inculcate her values, steered Stanford into eccentricity and public controversy for more than a decade. In 1905 she was murdered in Hawaii, a victim, according to the Honolulu coroner's jury, of strychnine poisoning.

With her vast fortune the university's lifeline, the Stanford president and his allies quickly sought to foreclose challenges to her bequests by constructing a story of death by natural causes. The cover-up gained traction in…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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