Books about the Marshall Islands

Below is a post from last year.  It is a great list of books about the Marshall Islands and we thought it was worth repeating. 


Below are a few books about the Marshall Islands. The first book is an especially great resource about the Marshall Islands. Perhaps one could use this book or one of the others to create a Marshallese Manit essay?

This list does not include books about nuclear issues in RMI, WWII in RMI, children’s books or fiction. Maybe those could be a future essay. Please email the editors if you know of other books that should be on this list or would like to edit the book description.

  • Etto n̄an Raan Kein: A Marshall Islands History. by Julianne M. Walsh, Ph.D.; in collaboration with Hilda C. Heine, Ed.D.; with the assistance of Carmen Milne Bigler, Mark Stege. 2012. 526 pp.

This is a great textbook that was written to be used in Marshallese schools. Unfortunately, there were some politics about it after it was published and it is not currently used in the public schools. Because of this there is a good chance once all the current books are sold that no more will be printed. As of 9/1/17 there were about 170 books left. This is a great resource. If you think you may ever want it I would order soon. It is available from besspress.com and sells for $120 plus shipping. Send email to: jen@BessPress.com or dimpna@BessPress.com. Mention that you have adopted a Marshallese child and you might be eligible for an educational discount.

  • Marshall Islands Legend and Stories. by Daniel A. Kelin II. 2003

This book contains 50 stories from 18 storytellers from 8 different atolls / islands all relaying the importance of traditional Marshallese values and customs. Order www.besspress.com

  • Life in the Republic of the Marshall Islands = Mour ilo Republic eo an Majõl. by Marshall Islanders; edited by Anono Lieom Loeak, Veronica C. Kiluwe, and Linda Crowl; translated by Veronica C. Kiluwe, Maria Kabua Fowler, and Alson J. Kelen. 2004.

Written by Marshall Islanders, this volume presents some people’s experiences, explanations and expressions of life in their own country. 17 chapters / essays.

  • Stories from the Marshall Islands : Bwebwenato Jān Aelōn̄ Kein. by Jack A. Tobin. 2002

Among Marshallese the ri-bwebwenato (storyteller) is well known and respected, a living repository and transmitter of traditional history and culture. Here are 90 folktales and stories of historical events. They include tales of origins, humanlike animals, ogres, and sprites–some malevolent, some playful.

  • Bwebwenatoon Etto a Collection of Marshallese Legends and Traditions. by Dirk Spennemann and Bennett Downing. 1992.
  • Majuro: Essays from an Atoll. by Floyd K Takeuchi (Author), Mr Olivier Koning. 2010. 102 pp.

Seven essays that look at contemporary life in the Marshall Islands: handicraft arts and culture; the revival of a traditional canoe culture; the growing use of local foods on restaurant menus; some of the best deep-sea sport fishing anywhere; the strength of local churches; private and affordable “get away islands;” and portraits of islanders.

  • Tattooing in the Marshall Islands. by Dirk Spennemann. 2009.

This is the first academic and scholarly compilation about the history, progression, and demise of the traditionally intricate practice of Marshallese tattooing. www.besspress.com

  • The Marshall Islands: living atolls amidst the living sea. by The National Biodiversity Team of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. 2000. 344 pp.

One of few books on natural history of the Marshall Islands, contains several species lists.

  • Traditional medicine of the Marshall Islands : the women, the plants, the treatments. by Irene J. Taafaki, Maria Kabua Fowler and Randolph R. Thaman. 2006.

This book describes more than 270 traditional medicinal treatments, all of which use the plants of the Marshall Islands, and provides a biogeographical, historical and anthropological context, with a particular focus on the use of traditional medicine for the treatment of women.

  • Don’t ever whisper, Darlene Keju Pacific Health Pioneer, Champion for Nuclear Survivors. by Giff Johnson. 2013.

Tells the powerful story of a woman from the Marshall Islands who championed the cause of nuclear weapons test survivors when others were silent, and who later implemented unparalleled community health programs and services that gave hope to a generation of troubled youth. http://www.donteverwhisper.com/

  • Idyllic No More: Pacific Island Climate, Corruption and Development Dilemmas. by Giff Johnson. 2015.

Essays about difficult challenges of Pacific Island countries.

  • Surviving Paradise: One Year on a Disappearing Island. by Peter Rudiak-Gould. 2009.

Experiences of a 21 year old that goes to remote island for 1 year to teach English to Marshallese, many interesting comments on culture

  • Climate Change and Tradition in a Small Island State: The Rising Tide. by Peter Rudiak-Gould 2013.
  • Mutiny on the Globe: The Fatal Voyage of Samuel Comstock. by Thomas Farel Heffernan. 2002

About the mutiny of the Globe and time spent on Mili atoll in the 1820’s.

  • Marshall Islands History, and Environment: People, Culture, Tradition, Travel and Tourism. 2017. by Ben Thierry. 2017. 146 pp.
  • Kwajalein Atoll, the Marshall Islands and American Policy in the Pacific. by Ruth Douglas Currie. 2016.

This book focuses on the Marshall Islanders’ tenacious negotiations for independence and control of their land, accomplished as the Republic of the Marshall Islands in a Compact of Free Association with the U.S.

  • Just Another Day in Paradise A History of Kwajalein, Marshall Islands. by Bill Remick. 2015. 298 pp.

This book reviews wth the living conditions for non-Marshallese on the military complex on Kwajalein. It will appeal to current and former non-Marshallese Kwajalein residents and their families, and anyone who is curious about how the island has been developed.

  • Kwajalein, An Island Like No Other. by Lynn A Jacobson. 2014.

The author, an expat and MIT engineer, details his time on Kwaj, which included two tours with family (including the birth of a daughter) and one as a bachelor, where he was more privy than most to the happenings on the island.