Set between 1889 and 1919, Coconut Colonialism: Workers and the Globalization of Samoa brings together the local and the global in an easy-to-read yet compelling volume. At its core, Coconut Colonialism foregrounds the people—Samoans, Chinese, Pacific Islanders, and Euro-Americans—in the context of capitalism, diplomacy, war, and globalization during the period of high imperialism. If Euro-American colonial policies defined imperialism as “rulers ruling the ruled,” Samoans had a different idea altogether. By highlighting the agency of the governed, this book restores dignity to the colonized. By discussing Samoans’ economic will and diplomatic skills, this work questions the very notion of power relationships within empires.

Care was taken to make this book readable. It is sparse in its review of related literature yet promotes, whenever it can, the concept of Oceanian globality: Samoans redefining “their own way of relating to the world” (9). This Oceanian globality theme ties the book together. First,...

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