James L. Haley


James L. Haley is the author, most recently, of Captive Paradise: A History of Hawaii (St. Martin’s, 2014). His previous books include Wolf: The Lives of Jack London (Basic, 2010), Passionate Nation: The Epic History of Texas (Free Press) and Sam Houston: A Biography (University of Oklahoma Press), which won the T. R. Fehrenbach Award from the Texas Historical Commission, the Coral Horton Tullis Memorial Prize from the Texas State Historical Association, and the Spur Award from Western Writers of America. Haley is at work on new naval history fiction series to be published by Putnam.

Praise for Captive Paradise

“In this single hefty volume... Haley tells the quarter-millennium story of Hawaii's recent progress... This book presents a potent reminder of the crucial significance of Hawaii... Captive Paradise begins with a memorably fine account of the murderous moments leading up to Captain Cook’s death at Kealakekua Bay on the Big Island in 1779. Mr. Haley then weaves his way through the tortuous history of the various monarchs and princes... He then adroitly navigates the minefields of these missionaries, and of their descendants who made so many ungodly fortunes in pineapple, sugar and rice. He places in its proper perspective the shameful deposition in 1893—by a group of American businessmen, missionary-born Sanford Dole of Dole Pineapple among them—of Queen Lili’uokalani, and the consequent ending of Hawaii's monarchy.” —Simon Winchester, Wall Street Journal

“Weaving a vast web of culture clashes amid the military and ideological conquests that turned native Hawaiians into “strangers in their own land,” Haley delivers his narrative through big personalities: royalty, missionaries, and conquerors of various backgrounds. His excellent exploration of the legendary figures of Hawaiian culture avoids the revisionist tendency to . . . gloss over the horrors of pre-contact life. This balanced perspective is certainly welcome in the canon of Hawaiian history, which is often beset by political agendas.” Publishers Weekly

Praise for Wolf

“A valuable London biography. It surpasses Irving Stone’s 1938 Sailor on Horseback, giving us a well-delineated picture of a singular, complicated figure. . . . These days we have little sense of the literary glory that was Jack London. Thanks to James Haley’s zeal, the fiercely imaginative author of Before Adam, not just the man of The Call of the Wild fame, is before us again.” —Wall Street Journal

Praise for Passionate Nation

“A masterwork that easily replaces Fehrenbach’s Lone Star as the best non-academic history of Texas.” —Austin American Statesman

“Well-informed, erudite and astonishingly comprehensive.... A folksy romp, replete with humorous asides, ironic commentary and sometimes uproarious and nearly forgotten anecdotes.” —Houston Chronicle

“With this rich and entertaining history, Haley adds his name, indelibly, to the list of native writers his state should be rightfully proud of.”

Publishers Weekly