New releases by Hawaii authors

"The Japanese American Contemporary Experience in Hawai'i -- Social Process in Hawai'i, Vol. 41, 2002"

Reviewed by Burl Burlingame

"The Japanese American Contemporary Experience in Hawai'i -- Social Process in Hawai'i, Vol. 41, 2002" edited by Jonathan Y. Okamura (University of Hawaii Press, $16)

This year's edition of the hoary sociology publication, big enough to merit this "Special Edition," is focused entirely on Hawaii's Japanese Americans, with scholarly essays like "Sweeping Racism Under the Rug of Censorship: The Controversy over Lois-Ann Yamanaka's Blu's Hanging" and "Mixing the Plate: Performing Japanese American Identity on the Stage of the Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Pageant in Honolulu, Hawai'i." According to the book's foreword, there is a critical need for works like this because Japanese Americans are largely ignored by Hawaiian society, politicians, scholars and educational institutions. "The Man" is keeping them down! This volume redresses this oversight by proving AJAs can be as dully pedantic as everyone else.

"Chasing Lava -- A Geologist's Adventures at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory" by Wendell A. Duffield

(Mountain Press and the U.S. Geological Surveys Volcano Hazards Program, $16)

This is a terrific little introduction to the exciting and exacting work of volcanology, told for young adults but chock full of good science and clear writing. "Duff" Duffield spent much of his geologic career on the steaming pahoehoe and brittle a'a of Kilauea, and he brings a teacher's gift for personalizing the lessons. Before getting into his own history, he contributes a capsule background of the HVO and the incredible Dr. Thomas Jaggar's turn-of-the-century enthusiasm for volcano science. The rest of the book details Duffield's own adventures and observations, making sure we understand the fundamentals of geologic science. Well-illustrated with photographs and sketches, this is an invaluable reference for some who like it hot.

"Living Legacy -- Outstanding Japanese Women of the 20th Century in Hawaii" by Scott C. S. Stone

(The Japanese Women's Society Foundation, $19.95)

Books don't get much better-looking than this. Beautifully designed by Island Heritage, it has gorgeously overwrought pages, impressive reproduction and Stone's text is crisp and to the point. On the other hand, it's also a vanity production of the highest order, a kind of who's who of a select group of Honolulu woman who decide who's in and who's out. Their families will buy many copies. As a reference book, it's suspect because the biographies within are pretty much puff pieces. Almost everyone here is well-known, such as Jean Ariyoshi and Anne Namba and Mazie Hirono and Joanne Ninomiya, and I suppose it's useful to know that folks like Cathy Foy-Mahi, Marie Milks and Lynne Madden consider themselves to be Japanese, and also helpful for telling the two Pat Saikis apart.

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