It is interesting to look at today and see a lot of parallels to what was occurring in the 1960s.
Since this is where we live, it can be even more interesting read about what Hawaii was like in the 60s, especially as seen through an outsiders viewpoint. For a Minnesota boy to suddenly be ensconced in the culture and character of Hawaii is one heck of a transition.
“Barefoot Days, Electric Nights: A Kid Reporter Lands in 60s Honolulu” by David Butwin is a candid autobiographical recollection, and a unique one at that.
Coming to Hawaii to work as a newspaper reporter for the Honolulu Advertiser (now Honolulu Star-Advertiser), Butwin is dropped into the deep end when it comes to culture shock, suddenly covering everything from the military, the civil rights movement, protests, Hollywood involvement, criminal activity, and visiting dignitaries—with these things sometimes overlapping. Many familiar names Butwin interacts with during his four years on the islands: Senator Dan Inouye, Frank Sinatra, John Steinbeck, Tom Coffman, Kui Lee, John Wayne, and other personalities.
While Butwin does acknowledge his own out-of-place-ness and potential erroneous assumptions about this new place and culture he is in, “Barefoot Days, Electric Nights” does not hold anything back. His recollections are free of censorship, and whether one agrees or disagrees on how he interprets his experiences in Hawaii, it is always interesting to read an unfiltered perspective.
In some ways, “Barefoot Days” reminds us of all the flavors of the modern-day Hawaii novel “In the Seat of Stranger’s Car” by Beau Flemister—except that this is based on real events and set 60 years ago!
So come in with a open mind and prepare yourself for a bit of a wild read—it is set in the 60s after all!