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Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's Facing Future (33 1/3 series) Paperback – December 10, 2009
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About the Author
Dan Kois is a contributing writer to New York magazine and a film critic for the Washington Post. He was the founding editor of New York's culture blog, Vulture, and has written for the New York Times, Slate, the Oxford American, Television Without Pity, and Honolulu Magazine. He lives in Arlington, Virginia.
Top Customer Reviews
I've seen that movie countless times. It's always a tear jerker for me. But the tears come - not when Sean Connery's character dies - but when Iz's music starts playing. The melody and vocals are so forlorn, yet so hopeful...almost unearthly. It's a masterful pairing. But like most songs that roll with the credits, it's a song you never hear anything more about.
However, this song was different. I eventually tracked it down, and after listening to it countless times, decided to find out more about the singer. Turns out it was a thousand pound hawaiian named Iz who was apparently worshipped by his fellow islanders, suffering from a drug problem, and being put through the ringer by bad management. It also turns out...he was dead. It was enough to whet my appetite.
I quickly discovered Dan Kois's 'Facing Future' on Amazon and made my purchase on a whim. I am so glad I did. The author writes in a way that lets you not only learn about Iz's amazing life, but become a part of it. It's hard to tell whether it's the author's writing style, or the richness of Iz's life, but the book is far more engrossing than most standard non-fiction. You will be deeply moved by this gentle giant's honest story, and devastated by how it was cut short.
I highly recommend 'Facing Future' to readers of all genres. You will not be disappointed.
It's a fascinating read, even for those who aren't already fans of Iz or his work.
That would be Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. (Everyone called him Iz.) He's the one who recorded that ukelele version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," which appeared on his album "Facing Future," which was released in 1993. (The "Over the Rainbow" cover was made one drunken night in 1988.) Millions of record sales later, that song has been used in a lot of commercials -- especially commercials aiming to make yuppies feel more ethereal about their purchases and vacation plans -- and basically anyplace you've ever ordered a daiquiri. As much as it makes me think of the Sheraton in Kona, it also makes me think of the Internet bubble economy circa 2000.
That's where Dan Kois comes in. He's written "Facing Future" for the 33-1/3 book series. (The series of books pairs a writer up with a legendary album and has the writer do a pocket-sized book-length essay about it.)
I had the pleasure of reading Facing Future in manuscript form last summer. Of all the authors who've ever asked me to read their book for them, this was the one I put the least amount of red pen marks on. It's an engaging and tragic story, quite well told, about a darker and more wistful side of life and death in Hawaii.
(Review repurposed from my blog, hankstuever + dot + com ... come by sometime.)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book was informative, but opinions were based on a lot of speculation by the author. The highlights were some of the personal stories. Read morePublished on November 25, 2013 by Debra F
This book was an interesting view point about, IZ- The Good, The Bad, and yes, even the Ugly truth about the artist, the music, and his well-meaning friends of the time. Read morePublished on November 22, 2012 by Linda
A very satisfying read. This works not just as an account of the album but also as a short bio of Israel. Read morePublished on April 19, 2011 by Karen Ringen
By definition, I'm a haole. But I don't think I'm a typical haole because I love every song on Facing Future - even the ones that I don't understand. Read morePublished on September 17, 2010 by B. Porter
Really enjoyed this book, it gave some great insights into Brudda IZ and the making of one of the greatest albums of all time.Published on September 15, 2010 by D. Steed
What a great little book! My wife discovered Over the Rainbow/Wondeful World watching 50 First Dates and was able to find Facing Future at a Barnes and Noble and we simply fell in... Read morePublished on May 27, 2010 by Matthew C. Miller