Thursday, October 10, 2013

Grapes of Canaan: Hawaii 1820 by Albertine Loomis

book cover
Grapes of Canaan:
Hawaii 1820
by Albertine Loomis

ISBN-13: 9781881987123
Mass Market Paperback:
338 pages
Publisher: Ox Bow Press
Released: June 1998

Source: Borrowed from my mother.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
This book is an important chronicle of the early years of the first Protestant mission in the Hawaiian islands. It is based upon the journals of Elisha and Maria Loomis, other missionary journals, and other historical sources. Their great-granddaughter, Albertine Loomis, remarked that the book was meant to be "an authentic and accurate story, using some of the techniques of fiction to give it pace and vividness for the general reader. Even the conversational passages are based on documentary accounts of what was said, and oftener than not...they are almost word for word as Elisha or one of the others recorded them."

My Review:
Grapes of Canaan: Hawaii 1820 is a biography about the first Protestant missionaries to the Hawaiian islands based on letters, journals, and other documents from the time written by the people described in the book. It covered a period from 1819 to 1827.

The book described the difficulties the missionaries faced and the changes that occurred in the islands as the missionaries developed a Hawaiian written language, taught it, started translating the Bible, and spread the Good News about Christ. The account ends with the author's grandparents, Elisha and Maria Loomis, returning to America, and so some questions about what happened next are left unanswered. Still, a lot happened in that time.

The book was a fairly easy read--the Hawaiian names were tricky, but there's a glossary in the back for the other Hawaiian words. The book felt like an accurate portrayal of what happened. I don't agree with a few of the missionary's theological stances, like they controled who was baptized and apparently felt this meant that they largely decided who was granted salvation. However, I was impressed by how genuine they were in their faith and how they cared for the Hawaiian people. Overall, I'd recommend this book.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

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