|Faneuil Hall in a 1903 public-domain image. Wikimedia.|
When U.S. House voted overwhelming to annex the nation of Hawaii on June 15 of 1899, a group that would come to be known as the Anti-Imperialist League gathered in Faneuil Hall in Boston, the city from which those missionaries had set sail eighty years prior. As Vowell writes, Boston attorney Moorfield Storey warned:
"When Rome began her career of conquest, the Roman Republic began to decay.... Let us once govern any considerable body of men [sic] without their consent, and it is a question of time how soon this republic shares the fate of Rome."Clearly, the fall of the American empire has not been as rapid as Storey imagined, but neither is his warning without merit, as the aftermath of the American Century continues to unfold.
Vowell closed her story with reference to the song "Hawaii 78" by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, better known on the mainland for his beautiful version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, about which I wrote in Hawaiian Beauty.
Aloha, Jean. May you rest in peace.
My favorite librarian -- who actually read almost all of Unfamiliar Fishes aloud to me -- posted her own review, emphasizing the book's library connections.