I read Vowell’s book, Assassination Vacation last year and I think I got lucky. I really liked it. I’ve since tried to read a few of her other books and found I couldn’t get through even the beginning parts. Unfamiliar Fishes was totally readable, but I still got lost in her many digressions at times. She starts out with the missionaries coming to Hawaii (1820) and goes through its annexation (1890s), touching on religion, politics, Hawaiian royalty, missionaries, natives, whaling, sailors, morals, sugar, civil wars, presidents, plantation workers, etc. Many parts of Hawaii’s history. An alright read of Hawaii’s history. I learned a few things, and I’ve read my share of historical Hawaiian books, but not a favorite read.