Isles of Amnesia: Mark Rauzon on guano, rats, and military secrets of the Marine National Monuments

rauzon-islesofamnesiaAn article in JSTOR Daily by Juliet Lamb shares some of Mark Rauzon’s perspectives about the 1960s Pacific Ocean Biological Survey Program expedition to remote US islands in the Pacific. Rauzon explores the history of this and other little-known incidents in his recent book, Isles of Amnesia: The History, Geography, and Restoration of America’s Forgotten Pacific Islands.

“Biologist Mark Rauzon, who spent many years studying documents related to the Pacific Project, has come to understand that the scientists themselves may have been guinea pigs for defense tests. Over fifty germ warfare tests were conducted in the Pacific during the 1960s, with substances ranging from harmless bacteria to rabbit fever. In the course of the tests, passengers on Pacific Project ships, which transported both military personnel and associated biologists, were exposed to harsh chemical cleansers, and the “harmless” bacteria have since been linked to a variety of debilitating conditions. Veterans who suffered adverse effects have been unsuccessful in requesting government compensation. Though no POBSP personnel have reported health effects, many may have been exposed. Rauzon’s efforts led to the release of many of the military’s documents related to the project, but complete records may never be provided.”

source: Hawai‘i State Archives

source: Hawai‘i State Archives

Read more on this in Rauzon’s 2006 essay, “Live Ammo: Testing of Biochemical Agents on U.S. Sailors,” that appeared in The Asia-Pacific Journal.

Other news on the book:
The Island Studies Journal review of Isles of Amnesia calls it “an interesting, thought-provoking and entertaining read” and “a good resource for scholars interested in these lightly-studied islands.” See the full review by downloading the PDF of the ISJ book review section (scroll down).

Rats on Wake Island, 2014

Rats on Wake Island, 2014

Isles of Amnesia makes Library Journal‘s 2016 top 20 bestselling books on biology.


Isles of Amnesia:
The History, Geography, and Restoration of America’s Forgotten Pacific Islands
by Mark J. Rauzon
A Latitude 20 Book | 2016 | 288 pages | 71 b&w illus.
Paperback | ISBN 978-0-8248-4679-4 | $24.99

Kalaupapa in Ka Wai Ola

KaWaiOla0913The Kepakemapa (September) issue of OHA’s newsmonthly Ka Wai Ola features a review of Kalaupapa: A Collective Memory with material from an interview with author Anwei Skinsnes Law, who has dedicated over forty years to researching and documenting the lives of Kalaupapa residents. An accompanying sidebar on other recent books on Kalaupapa includes Ma‘i Lepera: Disease and Displacement in Nineteenth-Century Hawai‘i by Kerri Inglis. Check out pages 22-23 of Ka Wai Ola by clicking here or link to the complete issue.

As the international coordinator for IDEA – International Association for Integration, Dignity and Economic Advancement, Ms. Law will soon be attending the 18th International Leprosy Congress in Belgium. UPDATE 9/10/13: Professor Inglis will also be attending the leprosy congress.

UH Press around the Web: Summer Snips 2013

The Summer 2013 issue of Hyphen Magazine (#27 – The Sex Issue) has an interview with Amy Sueyoshi on her book, Queer Compulsions: Race, Nation, and Sexuality in the Affairs of Yone Noguchi. 

Stephen Hong Sohn’s Asian American Literature Fans Megapost blog review for May 31 included one for Relative Histories: Mediating History in Asian American Family Memoirs by Rocío Davis. (Look for the third title from the top.)

There’s still time to donate to an IndieGoGo project to raise money for a CD of 26 original and unique songs inspired by the poetry of the late Wayne Kaumualii Westlake. UH Press published the posthumous 2009 collection, Westlake: Poems by Wayne Kaumualii Westlake (1947-1984).

Robert J. Cabin, author of Restoring Paradise: Rethinking and Rebuilding Nature in Hawai‘i, wrote a related article in Earth Island Journal on successful ecological restoration projects. He also addressed questions on restoration ecology in an article earlier this year in American Scientist, titled “Nature Is Dead. Long Live Nature!” (Full article requires subscription or institutional access.)

UH Press around the Web: Hawai‘i Catch-up

Even though 2013 is undeniably well underway, reviews and stories from fall 2012 can still make good reading. Here are some we missed posting earlier.

Walker-WavesWaves of Resistance author Isaiah Walker was interviewed by Daniel Ikaika Ito/Contrast Magazine for Raynorsurf.com, dispelling not only “the burnt-out, Hawaiian surfer stereotype” but the ivory-tower professor stereotype, as well.

The October 2012 canonization of Saint Marianne focused worldwide attention on Kalaupapa, Moloka‘i, as did this article in Syracuse, New York’s The Post-Standard that quotes Anwei Skinsnes Law, author of Kalaupapa: A Collective Memory.

Glenn Wharton’s The Painted King: Art, Activism, and Authenticity in Hawai‘i was reviewed in the new open-access eJournal of Public Affairs. Read the September 2012 review here.

West Hawai‘i Today published a wonderful review geared for Kona residents of Loulu: The Hawaiian Palm in its December 16, 2012 edition. (Note: The photo next to the review shows the plant discussed in the second article appearing on the page.)

HonoluluWeeklycover121107Honolulu Weekly‘s Winter Book Issue served up reviews worth repeating of several UHP titles.
“How ‘Bout Gabe?” on If It Swings, It’s Music: The Autobiography of Hawai‘i’s Gabe Baltazar Jr.

“Strumming Histories” on The ‘Ukulele: A History

“Under Western Eyes” on An American Girl in the Hawaiian Islands: Letters of Carrie Prudence Winter, 1890-1893

“Exiles at Home” on Kalaupapa: A Collective Memory

“Lit Up by Language” on Sky Lanterns: New Poetry from China, Formosa, and Beyond

OK. Onward from here!

JANM’S “Discover Nikkei” Interviews Amy Sueyoshi

SueyoshiQueerCompulsionsOn Saturday, January 19, 2:00 p.m., SFSU associate dean Amy Sueyoshi will appear at the Japanese American National Museum for a reading, discussion, and signing of her book, Queer Compulsions: Race, Nation, and Sexuality in the Affairs of Yone Noguchi. In advance of her talk, JANM’s Discover Nikkei online network has published an in-depth interview by Andrew Way Leong (Northwestern University), posted in two parts.

Click here to read part 1, then link to part 2 from there (or simply click here).

Dr. Sueyoshi will also give a talk at the San Francisco Public Library on Tuesday, February 26. For more details, see the SFPL calendar.

A review of Queer Compulsions published in this month’s The Gay & Lesbian Review, which calls the book “…an important study. It is also worthwhile as a fascinating portrait of biracial and same-sex relationships at a pivotal time in American history.” An equally positive review appeared earlier in Nichi Bei Weekly.