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U.S.-Japanese Rivalry Over the Annexation of Hawaii, 1885-1898
  • ISBN/SKU: 9781591145295
  • Binding: Hardcover & eBook
  • Era: 19th Century
  • Number of Pages: 384
  • Subject: History
  • Date Available: May 2011
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Full Description:

Pacific Gibraltar by William Morgan has been awarded NASOH’s “John Lyman Book Award for Best Maritime History.”

The first detailed examination of Hawaiian annexation in a generation, Pacific Gibraltar offers a fresh analysis and provocative conclusions about major episodes in this complex story.   Based on a sweeping reevaluation of new and existing sources in three countries, it addresses such key questions as the extent of U.S. support for the overthrow of the monarchy, including the USS Boston's mysterious return to Honolulu to land troops as the revolution began, and President Cleveland's attempt to restore the queen using naval forces to intimidate the white provisional government. Morgan also examines the U.S.-Japan annexation confrontation in 1897 and the final acquisition of the islands in 1898 as the culmination of growing appreciation for Hawaii's value to U.S. defense.

An ADST-DACOR Diplomats and Diplomacy Book publishedin partnership with the Association of Diplomatic Studies and Training. 

William Michael Morgan is professor of strategic studies at the Marine Corps War College. A resident of Fairfax, VA, he was a Foreign Service officer with the State Department for thirty years and holds a Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University.

Praise for Pacific Gibraltar

"In this superb monograph, William Michael Morgan explains why 'these assertions are wrong in an absolute sense but sometimes partly right in a larger sense' (p. 5).  He convincingly describes the  forces and events and actions that bore directly on the 1893 revolution and 'the acquisition of what might be called America’s Pacific Gibraltar, a prized naval bastion' (p. 3)."

American Historical Review, April 2012

“Morgan should be commended for both his analysis and his balance. He brings important concepts to the discussion, especially the Japanese threat as an impetus to annexation, much of which is lacking in the extant literature.”

The Northern Mariner, January 2012

Pacific Gibraltar is an excellent book that will appeal mainly to specialists on that period in its detail, but the volume offers something to more general readers as well. The author goes to great lengths to document both his details and his conclusions, and he is also even-handed in admitting where evidence is unclear and there are other valid views. The book is recommended.”

The Journal of America’s Military Past, Spring/Summer 2012

“The many interpretive and re-interpretive arguments Morgan puts forth are carefully constructed, thoughtful, and persuasive. His finely whetted accounts of the struggles over Hawaii in the halls of congress and among America’s diplomats are comprehensive and exceedingly detailed. For any reader wanting to explore the minutia of America’s Hawaiian policy, Pacific Gibraltar is the place to begin.”

International Journal of Maritime History, December 2011

Pacific Gibraltar provides a fair and balanced analysis of the political, diplomatic, and military history of the Hawaiian revolution of 1893 and annexation of 1898.”

Hawaii Reporter

“Morgan’s Pacific Gibraltar provides a critical study with fair conclusions to understand Hawai’ian annexation through the many nuanced dimensions of social, political, economic, and naval history. It is well researched, organized, and focused. The book would appeal not just to Hawai’ian historians, but those interested in navalism and the influence of Mahan on history.”

Nautical Research Journal, Spring 2012

“The prose is robust, engaging, and refreshingly free of jargon….The book persuasively demonstrates that Japanese expansion and new naval technologies underlay Washington’s growing recognition of Hawaii’s importance to West Coast defense. It convincingly demonstrates that the 1897 U.S.-Japan dispute over immigration to Hawaii was not a pretext but a genuine crisis that removed the last political obstacles to annexation.… Pacific Gibraltar is a comprehensive, scholarly, and objective study of a controversial subject. It makes a valuable contribution to the fields of Hawaiian history and U.S. foreign relations.”

The Journal of American History, March 2012

“A very interesting and enlightening approach to the pre-history of the Pacific part of World War II.”

AUSMarine, November 2011

“….This is a fascinating account of Hawaii in the age of imperialism and the onset of U.S. interventionism. One learns a great deal about the role of Hawaii at the crossroads of the U.S.-Japan collision course and the relevant intrigues and machinations in Washington and Honolulu.”

— The Japan Times Online, 10/2/11,

Pacific Gibraltar traces the flow of historical events step by step, in this absorbing dissection of a crucial turning point in Hawai’ian and American history.”

The Midwest Book Review, June 2011

“This is a splendid study of the turning of Hawai`i into a U.S. stronghold in the Pacific. The interplay between the local scene—what transpired in Honolulu among Hawaiians, Americans, Japanese, and others—and the global picture—trans-Pacific migrations, naval technology, and geopolitical interactions among the United States, Britain, Japan, and other powers—is skillfully narrated, making the book the most comprehensive study to date of the emergence of Pearl Harbor as the Gibraltar of the Pacific.”

—Akira Iriye, Professor Emeritus, Harvard University, author of Pacific Estrangement: Japanese and American Expansion, 1897–1911

“Based on highly impressive research, William Morgan has written a lucid narrative in which he carefully examines the main actors and key events, offers pointed judgments on all disputed interpretations, and makes a persuasive case for the primacy of strategic and technological considerations in the U.S. decision to annex the Hawaiian Islands.”

—Joseph A. Fry, Distinguished Professor of History, University of Nevada–Las Vegas, author of Dixie Looks Abroad: The South and U.S. Foreign Relations, 1789 –1973

“As Morgan deftly illustrates, Hawai`i is more than just a tropical paradise, it is the Pacific Ocean's most vital strategic location, which America and Japan tussled over long before Pearl Harbor. Just as important a story was the interaction between Hawaiian domestic politics and globalization, a dynamic we still wrestle with today.”

—Michael Auslin, author of Pacific Cosmopolitans: A Cultural History of U.S.-Japan Relations

“In this detailed account of U.S.-Hawaiian relations in the years leading to annexation in 1898, William Morgan does not shrink from passing judgment on American and Hawaiian policymakers. His provocative interpretation will enliven the debate over how the United States, in the name of ‘national security,’ forsook its republican traditions and acquired a key component of an overseas empire.”

—Charles W. Calhoun, Thomas Harriot College Distinguished Professor of History at East Carolina University, author of From Bloody Shirt to Full Dinner Pail: The Transformation of Politics and Governance in the Gilded Age

“Morgan provides a deeply researched analysis of the strategic and ideological factors that led to the U.S.’s annexation of the Hawaiian Islands in 1898. He also illuminates the differing and varied perspectives on the American campaign for annexation that prevailed among the U.S.’s chief rivals—Japan and Great Britain. Challenging existing scholarship that dismisses the McKinley administration’s fears about Japanese intervention in Hawai`i in 1897 as a drummed-up crisis, Morgan contends the threat from Japan was real and ‘triggered’ American annexation.”

—Edward P. Crapol, Pullen Professor Emeritus at the College of William and Mary, is the author of James G. Blaine: Architect of Empire and John Tyler: The Accidental President

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