Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell: A True Story of Violence, Corruption, and the Soul of Surfing

It: HarperCollins. Dec. 2013. 256p. index. ISBN 9780062202529. $25.99. CRIME
Surfer and former war reporter Smith takes an in-depth look at the complex world of surfing. To outsiders, the north shore of Hawaii's Oahu looks like an island paradise, home to some of the best surfing in the world and host of surfing's Triple Crown competition. The author shows another, seamier side. One of the major problems is the prevalence of drugs, and the effects upon those competing, as well as the native population, are well described. Smith presents a historical perspective of the sport and island history and includes many little-known facts, such as the real story behind the murder of Captain Cook at the hands of rival Hawaiian warlords. The result is a vivid and somewhat disconcerting depiction of the world of surfing and its attendant problems, which may be overwhelming to the casual reader.
VERDICT An uncommon read for those interested in surfing or those seeking a look at Hawaii from a vantage point not normally found in history books.
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