Unfamiliar Fishes

Unfamiliar Fishes is Sarah Vowell's history of the Hawaiian Islands, with particular emphasis on the missionary settlements and the imperialist annexation of Hawaii by the United States.  Vowell skips back and forth between the past and present day, as she lends her usual humor and insight to every topic.

“The groundswell of outrage over the invasion of Iraq often cited the preemptive war as a betrayal of American ideals.  The subtext of the dissent was: 'This is not who we are.'  But not if you were standing where I was.  It was hard to see the look in that palace tour guide's eyes when she talked about the American flag flying over the palace and not realize that ever since 1898, from time to time, this is exactly who we are.”  

Sarah Vowell is the author of various history books, including Assassination Vacation and The Wordy Shipmates. She was a contributing editor to Public Radio International’s This American Life from 1996-2008, and also starred in the movie The Incredibles.

Published:  2011
Length:  238 pages
Set in:  Hawaii, United States