Week 16, Book 14: The Colony

Tayman, John. The Colony: The Harrowing True Story of the Exiles of Molokai.. We honeymooned on Molokai, and our flight from Honolulu landed briefly at Kalaupapa, but we weren't allowed to deplane. A few days later, we gazed down on the peninsula from the top of the cliff, but the National Park Service was not running tours (led down the cliff path on muleback) at the time, so that was the closest we got.

The Colony tells the tale of the residents of Kalaupapa, exiled from the rest of Hawaiian society for having contracted leprosy. I knew a little of the history, from our time on Molokai and shortly after, but Tayman's research and interviews with some of the remaining residents shows that most of the information out there is little better than urban legend. This is important American history—the laws banishing patients to Kalaupapa were on the books until 1969—and I recommend it highly.