Some of my friends tell me that they like to learn from books. I never thought of reading as a learning tool, but when I think about it, I have learned lots from books.
The one author that you can't help but learn from is James Michener, because he puts tons of research into his fiction books. I really have a love/hate relationship with Michener. He makes history come alive but there is SO much detail.
I read Hawaii to John one summer. It took 75 days to read the whole book. I wish I could remember all the details, because it was an exquisite book.
Here is the introduction: "Millions upon millions of years ago..." Wow! He had a lot to cover!
I enjoyed the section on the missionaries from Boston. Eleven couples (all under the age of 28), most of them recently married to qualify for the trip, took six months to get to Hawaii by ship. What a challenge that was! It was interesting to follow these missionaries- some of whom were helpful to the Hawaiians, some of whom felt superior to 'the heathens'.
Abner Hale was one of the arrogant ones. He determined to deliver Urania's baby, refusing the help of experienced midwives, and Urania died. But Abner and Urania's husband, Abraham, congratulated themselves on their righteousness because they did not give in to using 'heathen'midwives. An interesting twist is that Abraham, the widower, ended up marrying a Hawaiian and was denounced by the mission.
Another one of the missionaries, Dr. John Whipple, supported Abraham and he left the mission as well. John Whipple respected the Hawaiians and learned from them. I admired the work that he did.
But Abner Hale continued in his arrogance into old age. His wife died young and Abner wandered the island ranting. Even his children didn't know what to do with him.
Japanese and Chinese also moved onto the island and it took many years for the Hawaiians, Americans, Japanese and Chinese to learn to work together on an equal footing.
Lots to learn here!
|Fascinating description of the Aztec|
|Wonderful history of slavery|
|Powerful description of war|