micsem.org / publications / books / The First Taint of Civilization

"Hezel has written a lively, even lusty history of island and Western civilizations coming into contact, and neither being the same afterwards. In Hezel's work a colorful cast parades before the reader: the crafty Palauan Ibedul who used a succession of Western ship captains for his own ends; the opportunistic seafarer Andrew Cheyne whose dreams of a Pacific trading empire dissipated in the tropical heat; the Hawaiian Protestant missionary Hezekiah Aea who for the first time taught Marshallese to read in their own language; the rogue Bully Hayes who professed to finding God while keeping numerous mistresses. Hezel is an accomplished writer who manages to portray history as it should be (and as relatively few historians seem able to do): as the rich story of the human condition."
Floyd K. Takeuchi, Honolulu Advertiser

"Hezel writes clearly and with erudition and commands an impressive body of information. His book is a tour de force through bits and pieces of data from three and a half centuries of Micronesian contact with European explorers, missionaries, military personnel, beachcombers, traders, and encroaching colonial governments. His signal accomplishment is to have melded these scattered bits of information into an enlightening story that sketches the beginnings of Micronesian incorporation into the world system...[First Taint is beautifully produced, with excellent maps and a useful index. Not only will it be read eagerly by Pacific scholars, but it should also find a wide audience among well-educated Micronesians hungry for greater understanding of how their island have become ensnared in world geopolitics."
Mac Marshall, Ethnohistory
Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1983. 365 pp.