|Doris Lum||Michener, James A.: Hawaii|
|Assignment 1: Bibliographic Description|
|1. First Edition Publication Information||Published by Random House, New York, 1959.|
|2. First Edition in Cloth, Paper, or Both?||Published in cloth. Also published simultaneously in Tornoto, Canada by Random House.|
|4. Pagination|| leaves, - 937 p., |
|5. Edited and/or Introduced?||Short introduction by the author explaining that characters are imaginary except one-- Uliassutai Karakoram Blake.|
|6. Illustrated?||No illustration|
|8. General Appearance||The binding is holding up very well and the text is clear.|
|10. Description of Paper||The paper is not thick. It is a little|
above the quality of typing paper. Not all the edges of the paper are cut completely straight, but a little jagged.
|11. Description of Binding||Spine title with gold embossing. Binding is stitched and in brown cloth. There is no cover art on the hard cover. Inside the cover is|
lining paper with maps.
|12. Title Page Transcription||Hawaii by James Michener|
|14. Manuscript Holdings||University of Texas|
|15. Other||The first edition is limited to 400 copies, all signed by the author. This copy was #106.|
|Assignment 2: Publication History|
|1. Other Editions:||Besides the regular first edition, there was also 400 copies of a special limited first edition, signed by the author. In 1988 there was a special Easton Press e|
dition that was bound in genuine leather. The introduction was written by James Michener expressly for this Easton Press edition with illustrations by Richard Powers.
In 1994, there was a mass market Fawcett Books paperback edition. (6.9 in x 4.24 in x 1.61 in)
|4. First Edition printings or impressions?||At least 3.|
|5. Editions from other publishers?||Published by Madarin, 1960.|
Published by Corgi, London, 1962.
Published by Secker and Warburg, London, 1959.
|6. Last date in print?||The last edition in publication was 1995 and is currently still in print.|
|7. Total copies sold?||??|
|8. Sales by year?||There was a reorder of 10,000 copies on December 2.|
In 1959, it sold 200,000 copies in the first two months.
|9. Advertising copy:||Transcription of an ad read:|
James A. Michener's greatest tale of the Pacific. Hawaii. They sailed fromt he far corners of the world to create a paradise on earth... a spellbounding nvel ofthe loves and adventures of a proud and passionate people. A monumental literary achievemen
Another ad quoted a review by Fanny Butcher of the Chicago Tribune. It read:
Without hesitation, I assure you that this is one novel you must not miss.
Full page ads could be found in any major book reviews and newspapers such as The New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker, Publisher's Weekly, and The Saturday Review. There were also smaller ads that Random House put out that included their other bo
In releases by Random House, there is mention of Michener's other book "Japanese Prints: From the Early Masters to the Modern" published by Charles E. Tuttle Company. Random House also sent out to newspapers a reproduction of the wood block print of Mr.
Michener that was used in many of the reviews of "Hawaii".
|11. Other promotion?||It was the book of the month for the Reader's Digest Condensed Book Club.|
The making of the film appeared in an article by John Poppy in Look, September 6, 1966.
|12. Performances in other media?||The motion picture, "Hawaii", was released in 1966 by the Mirisch Corporation. The movie rights were bought before the book was published for a record $600,000. A videocassette of this film was released by CBS/Fox co. in 1985. It was rereleased with|
the restored original cut with 20 extra minutes in 1990 by MGM/ UA (United Artists) Home Video.
Another film, "The Hawaiians", was released by United Artists in 1970.
Hawaii was recorded on tape, published by Random House Audio Publishing in 1990.
Hawaii was also published by Books on Tape, Newport Beach, CA 1991 in a tape format.
|13. Translations?||Translated into 32 foreign languages including some of the following.|
Hsia-wei-i, published by Huang Kuan Ch'u pan she, Tai-pei, 1967.
Havaj, published by Knizni Klub, Poland, 1959.
Hawaii, published by Jijitshshinsha, Tokyo, 1962.
Havaji, published by Zalozaba obzorja, Maribor, Yugoslavia, 1959.
Hawaii, published by Goldmann Verlag, Munich, 1959.
Hawaii, published by Presses de la Cite, Paris, 1992.
Hawaii, published by Plaza y Janes, 1974.
Hawaii, published by Buchgemeinschaft Donauland, Wein, 1959.
Hawai, published by Plaza and Janes, Barcelona, 1986.
Chavae, published by Ekdoseis A. Terzopoulou, Athena, 1985.
Hawaii, published by Raben and Sjogren, Stockholm, 1981.
Havai, published by editora Record, Rio de Janeiro, 1983.
|14. Serialization?||"Hawaii" appeared in a condensed version in Reader's Digest, August, 1953, pp. 102- 107.|
"Birth of Hawaii," published in Life, October 26, 1959, pp. 154- 156 contained exerpts from the book.
Excerpts entitled "Some Americans from Hawaii," appeared again in Reader's Digest, December, 1959, pp.82- 89+
It appeared in Bestsellers From Reader's Digest Condensed Books, by te Reader's digest Association, New York, 1961.
|15. Sequels or Prequels?||N/A|
|Assignment 3: Brief Biography|
|Readers from all over the world know the places where James A. Michener lived, but few know who he really was. Ironically, Michener said he would never use a book to describe himself, but he certainly left traces of him in each book he wrote. Michener was an artist, a scholar, a reporter, a politician, and most notably, an author. He drew people from his travels and experiences and sculpted works in between fact and fiction. His 40 best-selling novels were translated in over 50 languages, selling 100 million copies. Michener had the bragging rights to a rags to riches story, but he never relied on it for his success.|
He was born on February 3, 1907 in New York City and then abandoned. Michener was taken in by Mabel Michener, but he lived in poverty with other foster kids. There was never a conventional path to success for Michener. After hitchhiking across 45 states, he went on to graduate from Doylestown High School, where he played on a championship basketball team. Swarthmore College accepted him on a scholarship and placed him in the honors program. He graduated with the highest honors, summa cum laude.
It seemed that Michener was headed for a life of academics. He taught high school in Pennsylvania and eventually earned his masters from Colorado State College. Harvard College accepted Michener as a visiting lecturer, which he did for a year. He wrote many papers and could have easily made a respectable name for himself. But Michener was never a man to stay in one place for too long. In 1940, he became an editor for Macmillan Publishing Company. Everything pointed towards a writing career. He had the skill, and now he just needed a subject.
Michener quite Macmillan to join the Naval Reserves, becoming a lieutenant commander. He was stationed at the South Pacific in 1944. Three years later, at the age of 40, Michener published his first novel, Tales of the South Pacific. This book would later become a Broadway hit, earning Michener a Pulitzer Prize. He didn’t leave much room for future books to surpass Tales of the South Pacific and furthermore, many critics pigeonholed his Pulitzer Prize as lucky mistake. Anything else he would write, critics thought, would have been just a blatant imitation. But Michener certainly wasn’t a one hit wonder. He didn’t imitate, but rather, etched a trademark style of epic celebrations spanning generations.
The first of Michener’s blockbuster hits was “Hawaii.” This was the first book that was written about the state at about the time Hawaii was being annexed to the United States. After this book was a bestseller, Michener began getting involved in yet another facet of his life. He ran for Congress in Pennsylvania and his politics spurred on another two books.
His literary success certainly overshadowed his personal life. Michener married three times. His first marriage, in 1935, ended because of their long separation during the war. A second marriage lasted seven years, ending in a bitter divorce. While in Japan, he met his third wife, Mari Yoriko Sabusawa.
Michener died of kidney failure at the age of 90 in Austin, Texas, the basis on another best-selling novel. His papers are at the University of Texas, where Michener had donated millions.
The reviews of “Hawaii” by James Michener teetered between some aspects of the book, but there was almost an unanimous agreement commending the masterful storytelling of an epic narrative. Although there were points of criticism, the book was praised in most of the major newspapers and magazines including the New York Times Book Review, The New York Times, Saturday Review, Time magazine, Chicago Sunday Tribune, New York Herald Tribune, and the San Francisco Chronicle.
No reviewer could bypass the length of the book. Some joked that the book would hurt more than a bowling ball if dropped on someone’s foot. In Catholic World, it was called “oversized.” But overall, reviewers said the length was not detrimental to the effect of the book. Times magazine said “Mr. Michener’s zestful, knowledgeable, progress through the millennia is absorbing.”
What weighed more heavily in critics’ eyes than the 937 pages was the time span that the book covered. It spans 52 generations and most agreed that the payoff for such a vast scope of events are regarded as impediments to any serious involvement with stories. Times magazine goes on to say, “He can’t of course, with such enormous slabs of raw material to handle and shape go anywhere deeply below the surface, but there are splendid passages in his book.” Every reviewer had the same notion, but to varying degrees. Sutton Horrace in the Saturday Review wrote, “[some] may argue that Michener’s characters are often as paper-thin as the color- image in which Hawaii is held by mainland tourists.” Other reviews like the New York Times Book Review contend that although characters lack depth, Michener “is able to penetrate into many cultures with detachment and sympathy.”
Furthermore, there was criticism for lack of pace and unity through the books. Most of the reviews touched upon the structure of the book, which was divided into five sections. Most of the criticism lay with the last section of the book. The book was published before Hawaii was given statehood, and critics noted Michener’s own agenda of pushing for statehood.
Besides characterization, another criticism was the truth in historical facts. This was the greatest split between critics. Mary Ross in the New York Tribune praises Michener for his “laborious exploration of many fields ... while stretching one’s horizon over time and space, carrying its own conviction of validity.” Horrace Sutton agrees saying, “The subject is so well covered that it may be a long time before anyone essays another major work on the islands.” Others questioned the basis for many of the events that take place, calling it “another example of Mr. Michener’s specialty: dramatized journalism.” There was a third faction that hailed Michener’s research for not being material found in libraries, but material researched on the scene. Michener is called “at once, a social historian and novelist.”
Although there were many points of criticism, the tone of all the reviews was one of admiration for Michener’s accomplishments. “Hawaii” was considered a unique book and Michener’s strength was his narrative skill. After critical examination, most reviewers could not deny that the overall reaction of reading “Hawaii” was to find the book intriguing.
|Was unable to find any reception history after 5 years of the book, but there are lots of academic sources on the author himself.|
|Danielle Steele has her romance novels and Stephen King has his horror stories. It should only be fitting, then, that best-selling author James Michener should have his trademark too. His books are epic, multigenerational tales celebrating virtues of patriotism and identity. But beginning a book with, "Millions upon millions of years ago" does not sound formulaic of popular fiction, let alone a best seller. Yet that is exactly how James Michener starts his novel, "Hawaii". It was not a sheer phenomenon that propelled this 900-page novel into the mainstream public. Besides the quality of his book, a combination of Michener's reputation, the timing of his book, and the promotional muscle that was put into this work helped solidify its success. "Hawaii" was published in 1959 and was the first of Michener's blockbuster novels. Over 30 years later, it is currently still in print, the last edition in publication being in 1995. There was a reorder of 10,000 copies a month after publication. It sold 200,000 copies in the first two months alone. Eventually, it was translated into 32 foreign languages worldwide. |
What made the road to success a little easier for the novel was that Michener had already established his name before the publication of "Hawaii." Michener, at this point, had already published "Tales of the South Pacific" as well as "The Floating World" and "The Bridge at Andau." Michener's reputation had already been established as one who traveled extensively and specialized in writing about the cultures he came across. Furthermore, the first book he published in 1948, "Tales of the South Pacific," won Michener a Pulitzer prize. It was adapted into the musical "South Pacific" by Rodgers and Hammerstein which ran for almost 2,000 performances. With a Pulitzer prize under his belt, anything following this novel would make his publisher, Random House, pay closer attention. "Hawaii" was a best seller in a large part due to satisfying a trend that the pubic wanted. The publication of Michener's novel in 1959 came out at the same time as Hawaii's
new statehood. This was the first real novel about Hawaii. People were already curious about the tiny islands laying in the Pacific ocean that would join the United States. Michener, at that time, was a resident of Hawaii, giving his version of the islands more credibility. The success of "Hawaii" was not only a one way street. Audiences did not simply receive the novel with open arms. It is rare that a 900- page book dealing with serious issues would capture the attention of the masses. Rather, the publisher played a vital role in pushing the novel into the mainstream public. Even being a Pulitzer prize winner and a cash cow for Random House, it took "Hawaii" nine weeks to reach the bestseller list. Full page ads could be found in any major book reviews and newspapers such as The New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker, and The Saturday Review. These ads were in addition to the ads released by Random House that introduced new books. Michener had already been writing for Reader's Digest long before. So in addition to his own publisher, he also had Reader's Digest promoting the book. Before the book was even published, a condensed version appeared in Reader's Digest. It came as no surprise, then, that it was the book of the month for the Reader's Digest Condensed Book Club. The marketing of "Hawaii" extended to a production of a motion picture. Hopes were high since "South Pacific" had been so successfully transformed into another media. The movie rights were bought by the Mirisch Corporation even before the book was published for a record amount of $600,000. Articles were also published over the making of the film in "Look," with full pages of colored pictures. Another film, "The Hawaiians" was released by United Artists in 1970.
Most best- selling novels are accused of lacking depth and "Hawaii" is charged with the same criticism. But while it does not dig deep beneath the surface, its surface area covers a great span. It starts with the forming of the islads and leaps across 52 generations to end with the coming of statehood. Time magazine says, "[the characters] move fast-- through an incredible gauntlet of rapes, murders, tidal waves, human sacrifices, Chinese food, whale thrashings, leprosy, volcanic eruptions, and pineapple blights." Even taking into account the timing of publication and the advertising, readers could not have endured over 900 pages without the book having some intriguing quality about it. The novel does not focus in on one main character, but rather gives a panoramic view of the coming of four groups to the islands. The Polynesians from Bora Bora, the American missionaries, the Chinese, and the Japanese form the backbone to this epic tale. It is this epic quality that draws in readers. Maybe the names of the numerous characters are easy to forget, but the reader is not likely to forget each group's heroic struggles to thrive in a newly developing society. Although each group is uniquely distinguished by their cultural background and way of thinking, the reader roots for each group. The native Hawaiians are depicted as embracing and loving people who got in exchange for their hospitality from the missionaries measles and pneumonia. The missionaries are divided between pompous, fervent characters like Abner Hale and caring people who started schools and churches like his wife. Some of the missionaries left the service and joined with shipping captains, forming mercantile enterprises that would control Hawaii. Even with capitalism, some of the white characters are shown to will not stand for injustice. Enter Chinese immigrants who were brought as cheap labor to work the pineapple fields. These immigrants were oppressed in their everyday living conditions. The characters in this group are determined people who value education and foresee that owning land will be their way of controlling their destinies. But the Chinese also have to contend with racial discrimination. The power of the human spirit comes through when one Chinese immigrant, Nyuk Tsin leaves with her husband who has leprosy to the island of Molokai. There she lives with the other outcasts in chaotic conditions. She eventually becomes the heart of the island, caring for those who have been tossed aside by the government. When her husband dies, she returns to her family. When she gets on the ship to return home, the reader is introduced briefly to Father Damien, a real historical figure who unselfishly worked with lepers on Molokai. The Chinese still contend with racial discrimination when the houses in China town are completely burned down because the bubonic plague is brought from a ship from the Orient. Nevertheless, the Chinese rally back to get land at any cost. Nyuk Tsin says, "Today will be memory too terrible to accept. They will decide to surrender their land in Chinatown. And if they do, we will buy it." Michener goes on to write, "From despair hope rises; from defeat victory. . . The city is burned, but it must be rebuilt." (597) The Japanese are also brought in as workers, but they differ from the Chinese in that they expect to return to Japan one day. They are hardworking and proud people. They give up land in exchange for cash, only to be given back to the Japanese consulate. This type of pride is most evident in the midst of World War II when the Japanese were put into internment camps. The Japanese youth, in order to prove their loyalty, join the 222nd Combat team. This unit alludes to the factual 442nd of Hawaii that became famous for their relentless fighting. Despite their efforts to prove their patriotism, the Japanese boys are still mistreated by other American soldiers. Still, they fight for America. One of the Japanese boys says, "We fight double. Against the Germans and for every Japanese in America." And they do earn their recognition as Americans when a Texas battalion becomes trapped and the Japanese group goes in to rescue them. The lives of 800 Japanese are lost in order to save 341 Texans. Because of their military achievements, the Japanese earn their way into Hawaii's politics. Each group fears a loss of identity, but the children of these ethnic groups are the ones that melt and mesh together to form the identity of Hawaii. The Chinese intermarry with the Hawaiians, the Japanese work with the Chinese, and the whites start letting the Chinese and Japanese onto their board of directors. The strength of Michener's storytelling is that he is able to show the triumphs of each ethnic group as well as the prejudices they hold. Everyone is resistant to change and there is always remorse over what is lost and handling this is Michener's weakness in the last section of the book entitled, "The Golden Men". In the last section of the book, the narrator appears and the reader finds out that the one telling the story is actually one of the golden men. Michener inserts his own voice as the narrator's. He pushes for statehood and almost ends in a "happily ever after." The Hawaiians who lose their monarchy as well as most of their land are not reconciled in any way. But maybe there can be no reconciliation for a change. Michener definitely celebrates the future more than regretting the past. It is clear that capturing the feeling of such a vast amount of time is a feat that deserves praise. Reviewers agreed. The book was reviewed in all major newspapers and book reviews. Almost no reviewer could argue that this book was thoroughly researched, although there was a slight division over whether all the facts presented were faithful to history. Mary Ross, in the New York Tribune, praised Michener for "his laborious exploration of many fields... while stretching one's horizon over time and space, carrying its own conviction of validity," while others said it was another example of "Mr. Michener's specialty: dramatized journalism." The biggest criticism, as mentioned earlier were the depth of the characters. The book included genealogical charts to help the reader keep track of the many, many characters. Some characters, like the Hawaiian, Kelly Kawanakoa, were accused of being caricatures of the Hawaiian people. The highest praise Michener allows anyone in the book is "extraordinary." Despite this criticism, each reviewer could not help but credit Michener with an unprecedented achievement. Horace Sutton of Saturday Review puts it best when he wrote, "High-domed, long-haired literature may argue that Michener's characters are often as paper-thin... but 'Hawaii' is still a masterful job of research, an absorbing performance of storytelling, and a monumental account of the islands. . ." The unanimous glowing praise reviewers gave the book only added momentum to its popularity. Finally, with every best selling novel, there is an element of the unknown. That is, there is the luck factor. This comes simply from what the reader thinks of the book. Personally when I read this, having grown up in Hawaii, I found this book mesmerizing. I could recognize the accuracy in historical backdrop, at the same time I was captivated by the individual dramas. It was a book that celebrated different cultures and showed their victories through unimaginable trials. For example, before reading this book, I already knew of the 442nd battalion in World War II and the internment camps. I learned of the casualties in history class. But to walk through that same experience with a name, a name that is attached to a family, who is attached to a culture, brought the whole incident into reality. Ironically, the names were fictitious, but the determination that the battalion showed was so vivid that the injustice of it all was really felt. I was on the brink of tears when a reporter in the story sums it briefly saying:"If tears could be transmitted by cable, and printed by linotype, this story would be splashed with tears, for I have at last seen what they call courage beyond the call of duty. I saw a bunch of bandy-legged Japanese kids form Hawaii cross the Rapido River, and hold the opposite bank for more than forty minutes. Then they retreated in utter defeat, driven back by the full might of the German army. Never in victory have I seen any troops in the world achieve a greater glory, and if hereafter any American ever questions the loyalty of our Japanese, I am not going to argue with him. I' m going to kick his teeth in." Michener scripts in the reaction of the reader through the use of other characters. These moments in the book are too numerous to mention. So in the most general way possible, I would have to say this was one of the best books I've read and for lack of a better phrase--It was brilliant. The business of selling books is exactly that, a business. There are political factors underlining the book itself. It was fortunate for James Michener that a combination of forces were working together. One was his established reputation that enabled the book to get more exposure. Another one is the timing of the book, which satisfied people's curiosity about the new state. The bells and whistles of promotion, like the film deals and the ads, helped convince people to pick up the 900-page novel. The reviews were added encouragement. But once the book was in the hands of readers, it was up to the quality of the book to hold people's interests. This was the cinching factor. "Hawaii" was packaged in an unique genre, with an epic story line, and a bigger than life quality. One of the characters says, "I want to construct an image of all Hawaii and the peoples who came to build it. I want to deal with the first volcano and the last sugar strike." This is what Michener has accomplished by his book and so he stays true to the dedication page, which reads, "To all the peoples who came to Hawaii."
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