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By Lt. Col. Harold E. Raugh, Jr., Ph.D., U.S. Army (Ret.), April 2005

A Military History of Sovereign Hawai’i
by Neil Bernard Dukas
Mutual Publishing, Honolulu
2004, 222 pp., chronology, illustrations, appendices, bibliography, index
$17.95, softcover

This engrossing book makes a truly original contribution to military history. Few know that Hawaii was annexed by the United States only in 1898, and that prior to this time, Hawaii was a sovereign kingdom. Author Neil Bernard Dukas divides his fascinating military history of Hawaii into two parts. The first section focuses on the Hawaiian warrior (“koa”), and his development based upon Polynesian culture and values. The 18th century Hawaiian society both “endorsed and enjoyed battle,” but also “set controls to limit battle’s carnage.” Other topics covered include traditional Hawaiian weapons, recruiting and training, mobilization and organization for war, battle dress, battlefield tactics, and the ethos of the koa. Part 2, “Soldiers of the Crown,” commences with King Kamehameha’s nominal unification of the Hawaiian Islands in 1796. After 1815, Hawaii was subject to foreign incursions and the warrior state declined. Russians, Argentines, Britons, and Americans traded with the Hawaiians and challenged their independence, forcing the Hawaiians to form militia units for national defense. Finally, during a period of instability and at the beginning of the 1898 Spanish-American War, the United States annexed Hawaii. Dukas’ superbly researched, elegantly written, and handsomely produced study of Hawaii’s military history deserves a large audience.


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2005 by the author and Sovereign Media. Reproduction without permission strictly prohibited.