During the Depression years, J. Arthur Rath spent his early childhood shuttled between relatives and foster parents in Hawai'i and on the mainland while his single mother, Hualani, struggled to make a living. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, his grandparents sent him to the Big Island and Konawaena School, where he heard the Kamehameha Schools boy choir at a school assembly. The performance made a deep impression on Rath, and a year later, in 1944, he entered Kamehameha as an eighth-grade boarder. Thus began Rath's love affair with an institution that he credits with turning his life around, with giving him and other disadvantaged children of native ancestry - Hawai'i's "lost generations" - the confidence and support necessary to make something of themselves. This is the story of that love affair. It is also the story of Rath's recent battle, together with other alumni, for the integrity of his beloved Kamehameha against the school's trustees and their organization, the powerful Bishop Estate.
Intelligent and impressionable, Rath spent an idyllic four years at Kamehameha. In a lively talk-story manner, he reminisces about campus life and his classmates, many of whom became lifelong friends and influential members of the Hawaiian community: Don Ho, Nona Beamer, Oswald Stender, Tom Hugo, William Fernandez. Years later Rath, a successful retired businessman, would call on these same friends to hold Kamehameha's trustees accountable for their mismanagement of Bishop Estate's vast financial holdings and ultimately their failure to carry out founder Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop's mandate to educate Hawaiian children. Rath draws on his many personal ties to the school and the estate to provide surprising revelations on the trustees and the "Bishop Estate Scandal," which made headlines daily throughout the mid-1990s.
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J. Arthur Rath is a Kamehameha Schools graduate, a retired public relations executive, and a former university adjunct professor. He is an inductee in the Kamehameha Schools Hall of Fame.Review:
Through this book, [Rath] has done a superb job of introducing a host of special Kamehameha graduates. . . . I found the book to be both entertaining and informative. By combining an autobiography with the history of Hawaiians, the author communicates a compelling story. Particularly revealing is his coverage of the years in which the trustees of the Kamehameha Schools Bishop Estate took management away from the schools' principals and president, failed to meet the educational mission of the schools, and mismanaged the finances of the Estate. His creative use of a talk story format . . . provides clarity to the many conflicts resulting from actions taken by the Bishop Estate trustees. Moreover, [the] format helps present a Hawaiian perspective to all the turmoil surrounding the Kamehameha Schools. . . . This book is an important addition to the many recent books written by Hawaiians. More importantly, for the first time, an investigation of the Kamehameha Schools illustrates how Princess Pauahi Bishop’s legacy helped nurture Hawaiians through education and how those Hawaiians, who were the beneficiaries of her gift, contributed to resurrecting Hawaiian culture and spawning a second Hawaiian revolution. (C. Kalani Beyer Hawaiian Journal of History, Volume 40 (2006))
The last half of the book contains many more inside revelations about how the powerful, secretive Bishop Estate back-scratching club came unraveled. To read today what they got away with then seems incredible. . . . One marvelous service this book performs is to document the contribution of former trustee Oswald "Oz" Stender. He's the real hero in this story, the person who blew the whistle to save the estate. Stender provided Rath, a fellow student at Kamehameha, with the details that make the last half of the book hard to put down. (Bob Krauss Honolulu Advertiser)
Lost Generations moves beyond traditional autobiography and, remarkably for its length, achieves the intimacy of casual conversation. (Christine Thomas Honolulu Advertiser)
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Book Description University of Hawaii Press, 2005. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110824829492