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ISLAND HISTORY: ‘Plantation Stories’ — Keith Smith’s new book about plantation life on Kaua‘i

Local author, Keith Smith, who was born in Pepeekeo, Hawai‘i, and raised in the plantation town of Kilauea, Kaua‘i, during the 1950s and 1960s, where his father, Ernest Smith, was Kilauea Plantation manager, has recently published his second book titled “Plantation Stories.”

In his first book, “Plantation Kids,” published in 2020, Keith narrates a treasure of amusing stories recalled from the carefree and adventurous days of his youth in those bygone days, which also included a stint as a summer field hand at Kilauea Plantation.

In “Plantation Stories,” he brings to life, through in his recollection of numerous, fascinating and intimate anecdotes, the people he worked with and supervised during his 18 years of employment as a supervisor and superintendent at McBryde Sugar Co.

As Keith has said, “Although sugar cane is no longer part of the Kaua‘i landscape, the memories still exist, and as the last generation of sugar workers pass on, their stories go with them.”

His “Plantation Stories” thoroughly succeeds in preserving many of those memories, and accomplishes his objective that “It was written in memory of the sugar plantations that made Hawai‘i the multi-cultural society it is today. If not for sugar, the majority of Hawai‘i residents would not be here today. It is our shared heritage, and nothing can ever change that. Live it, and never forget it.”

For the reader of “Plantation Stories,” Keith’s clever storytelling style makes for easy reading, which is both entertaining and educational in terms of history, plantation life, agricultural practices and operations.

“Plantation Stories” is a must read for anyone who has worked on a sugar plantation, particularly McBryde, or whose family has its ancestral roots in sugar, or for anyone interested in Hawaiian sugar’s past — or for someone simply interested in a good read.

It is the best book of any kind that I have read in quite a while.

Books are available at the Kaua‘i Coffee Visitor Center in Numila or ordered online from the Kaua‘i Historical Society website. Bulk orders can be arranged by emailing
Source: The Garden Island

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