Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell
This one was so good that I read it and then I bought the audiobook and I listened to it.
Full disclosure - this was the summer of listening to Sarah Vowell in our car. Not a bad way to spend errand-running days. She is my kind of nerdy.
Anyway - in this one, she tackles the Americanization of Hawaii- all the way from the part where they wanted it up until the part where they didn't. She interviews everyone you can think of and reads things you didn't know existed until she starts talking about them.
I got a sense of the truly complicated situation Hawaii was in -before the missionaries arrived there was no written language - so from the West (East? Isn't New England East of Hawaii?) they got a written language and enjoy a very high literacy rate. They also got lots of VD, marginalization, and ultimately...they got to lose their sovereignty.
It really just fueled my desire to visit Hawaii.
I'm gonna recommend listening to this one, unless you're familiar with the Hawaiian language - I got hung up on the names and some of the anecdotes - the cast is brilliant and hearing it in Vowell's own voice keeps the pace going - it was funnier as I listened to it.
And then get everything else she's ever written and listen to that, too. Trust me.