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Honor Killing: How The Infamous "Massie" Affair Transformed Hawaii

1 rating: 5.0
2005 non-fiction book by David E. Stannard

In the fall of 1931, Thalia Massie, the bored, aristocratic wife of a young naval officer stationed in Honolulu, accused six nonwhite islanders of gang rape. The ensuing trial let loose a storm of racial and sexual hysteria, but the case against the … see full wiki

Author: David E. Stannard
Genre: History, Health, Mind & Body
Publisher: Viking Adult
Date Published: April 7, 2005
1 review about Honor Killing: How The Infamous "Massie"...

The tumultuous events of 1931-32 would change Hawaii forever.

  • Jan 27, 2011
  • by
To be honest, I had never ever even heard of the bizarre and extremely unfortunate events that took place in the U.S. territory of Hawaii back in 1931 and 1932.  But the truth is that the events depicted in David E. Stannard's "Honor Killing:  How The Infamous 'Massie' Affair Transformed Hawaii" would over time affect significant changes in attitudes about race relations, crime and punishment, and employer-worker relations not only on the islands, but throughout the nation as well.

"Honor Killing: How The Infamous 'Massie' Affair Transformed Hawaii" tells the strange and sordid tale that came to be known as the "Massie Affair".  Surely it was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time for 5 young men of Asian and Hawaiian descent who were suddenly accused of perpetrating a gang rape on an "innocent" young white woman named Thalia Massie.  Thalia was the wife of a young naval officer and when news of the alleged crime hit the newspapers all hell broke loose.  In those days, Hawaii was a U.S. territory and was largely dominated by the Big Five, five corporations that controlled the lions share of economic activity.  And for obvious reasons, there was also an extremely large U.S. military presence in the area.  This was the "establishment" and these men had more than a passing interest in the outcome of the so-called "Massie Affair".  And they would certainly not hesitate to use any means at their disposal to protect their interests.  In the year or so that followed, the story would take any number of unexpected twists and turns.  When a deadlocked jury failed to convict the five Asians and Hawaiians in the rape trial, members of Thalia's family decided it was time to take matters into their own hands.  What would transpire as a result of their actions will likely infuriate and sicken you.

Author David Stannard has done a superb job in piecing together this complex and remarkable story. The book is extremely well written and equally well researched.  "Honor Killing" just might be the best book I have read this year.  Very highly recommended!

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January 28, 2011
Sounds like quite an interesting read with lots of information in it. Fantastic review! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us all!
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