Kahana: The Untold Stories
by Ann Kennedy
Kahana and Kennedy Productions, LLC

"The ghostly night transforms the island into a spiritual odyssey. Tribal men hold torches high above their heads. Fire sparks and crackles as if ten-thousand fireflies are swarming."

It is 1941 in Hawaii, and young Kim Kahana, like other children in his village, learns from the tribal elders about Hawaiian heritage, history, and folklore. They also learn the martial art of Lua. The extraordinary power of its discipline, focus, and physical strength are to play a significant role in the life story of young Kahana. When the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, and the U.S. is thrust into World War II, life on the island changes dramatically. “Whenever Kim needs to escape the harsh realities” of what is happening around him, Kennedy writes, “he ventures down to the docks,” where he befriends American soldiers and begins to dream of life on the mainland.

From there, Kennedy weaves together an amazing tale of Kahana’s life on the move, from one experience to another and often on the run, hopping trains and working odd jobs throughout the States. This is the same young man who eventually grows up to become a Korean War hero, an accomplished Samoan fire sword dancer, and a Hollywood stuntman, working in such television series as The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. and Danger Island. His later films include Charles Bronson’s Death Wish, Soylent Green with Charlton Heston, The Six Million Dollar Man, and Mission Impossible.

Kennedy has written an intensely entertaining biography of a kid who once harvested the fields in his native Hawaii and goes on to become a successful actor, stuntman, and film martial-artist. Her colorful stories of Kahana create an action-packed page-turner. Older children, teens, and adults alike will find this to be an original read, full of heroism, true grit, and love interests, all while the protagonist never forgets his pre-WWII Hawaiian-village roots and the people who helped shape his outlook on life and, along the way, guided him through many personal and professional successes.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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