HONOLULU CSI – An Introduction to Forensic Science and Criminal Investigation , by Gary Dias and Robbie Dingeman, 2004, Bess Press
This is Dias' and Dingeman's third (and I suspect not last) book. Their first book (Honolulu Cop) was reviewed here in 2002. The authors continue with their great combination of humor (some of which is pretty corny) and professionalism, making this book another fun read.
Given all of the TV shows covering it, it would be really easy to think that a book about forensic science would be boring. Well, a college textbook maybe, but not this one. That's probably because: 1) there are lots of descriptions of real-life scenes here, and 2) (drum roll please) there is "try it yourself" stuff!! For example – you know quick glue – the glue that will glue your fingers together? Did you know that it can be used to lift fingerprints off things (no, not off your fingers)? Me neither. It's called "cyanoacrylate fuming." The technique was discovered by accident in Japan and it has even been used on whole cars by the Honolulu Police Department! You can do it yourself using a mayonnaise jar, some aluminum foil, tweezes and superglue. These little goodies are scattered all thought the book, EXCEPT in the firearms section (whew!). Plus, there's an excellent forty page section on personal crime prevention. There are chapters here on securing your home (both inside and outside), street smarts, safety in your car, workplace safety and preventing sexual assault. I used to work for a police department, in the Crime Analysis Unit, and I guarantee that if you follow Dias' recommendations here, you will be far safer than if you don't, by leaps and bounds.
Hawai`i at Play, Images of a Bygone Era, by DeSoto Brown, Watermark Publishing, 2003
This is a history book of sorts,
but from the viewpoint of marketing and advertising.
All of the images have been assembled from the author's private collection
of marketing materials from the islands. (DeSoto has been collecting
Hawaiian memorabilia for most of his life; he's an archivist at the
in Honolulu.) This book will appeal to two primary audiences; people
who visited or lived in the islands during the "golden years" of
marketing, and those who missed it all. DeSoto has organized
the images and text by topic; "Fun in the
Sun," "A Taste of the Tropics," "The Silver Screen," etc.
Each topic has marketing and advertising materials from roughly Hawai`i's
Territorial years through early statehood. Most of the items from this
time period have a stylized, either dreamy or lively look to them, and
the all promote Hawai`i as an island paradise. One of the most interesting
things that you notice when looking at these old marketing materials
are specific things that nobody would dream of doing today. Things like
horrible fake Chinese language, pictures of young "island" women
playing ukuleles or dancing Hula (almost all of them are light-skinned
Caucasians) and beach pictures that include grass and seagulls (neither
of which exist in Hawai`i – the pictures were obviously taken on
the mainland)! This is a fun read about a "bygone era."
Gary Dias does a very cool job of giving the reader a glimpse of what the law enforcement "family" is like, and he does it with humor, grace and insight. One of the really nice things is that Dias’ writing style is of the down-to-earth, talk-story variety. So what he has turned out isn’t a cop’s book for cops, but a cop’s book for everybody. I think that anybody who reads it will enjoy this book, whether they are directly involved in law enforcement or not. Dias is simply a great story teller. If you are in law enforcement, you’ll find yourself chuckling and smiling a lot as you recognize familiar situations (like when you get promoted to sergeant and are looking forward to being assigned to a beat near your home and you get assigned as a desk sergeant in the worst part of town). As a “civilian” looking at the “inside” for the first time, you’ll find yourself thinking “Oh, that’s why they do that” or “I’m glad I’m not a cop” or maybe even sometimes “What a bunch of jerks.” Dias tells a whole bunch of great stories. In a lot of them the joke is on him (which he learns to take in stride, which is mandatory in a police department if you’re going to survive). “Honolulu Cop” is just plain fun to read!
This book is REALLY hard to categorize - it's a little bit of everything, and it's FANTASTIC !! The last version of this Atlas was published over 15 years ago; a LOT of people have been anxiously waiting for a reprint. It's been worth the wait - the University of Hawaii at Hilo has done an absolutely BEAUTIFUL job - again. How to describe it ...... First of all, it's a lot more than just an atlas. To give you an idea, here are the chapter headings for this 330+ page fountain of knowledge:
Over the years, people have requested that more cultural material be added to the Atlas, and they've done that. There are sections on archaeology, history, religion, languages, culture and the arts. There are even maps of the voyages of the Hokule`a, Hawai`iloa and the Makali`i. The layout is absolutely beautiful, with a nice mix of detailed text, graphics, charts, maps and photographs. Here are a few sample charts and maps:
If you want to gain some in-depth knowledge on almost EVERY aspect of Hawaii - this is probably the book of the decade. If you are a "factoid" person, you will go absolutely nuts. Just glancing around, I found out that:
This is a fun book !! It's filled with all kinds of trivia and factoids. Mr. Cassidy has divided the book into chapters on Geography of the Islands (with a subsection for each island), Entertainment, History, Culture of the Islanders, Sports & Recreation, Science & Nature, and Myths and Legends.
It's constantly entertaining. I teach a class on the history and culture of Hawai`i, and I pepper my classes with tidbits from this book. For example, did you know that Elvis Presley donated all of the proceeds from his 1961 Honolulu concert to the building of the Arizona war memorial in Pearl Harbor? Or that there is an underwater temple dedicated to the Hawaiian shark god in the Big Island? Good stuff.