The life of Israel Kamakawiwo‘ole, whose big heart and gentle voice won him fans around the world, is being told in a new book that offers an unprecedented look into the musician’s professional and personal life. ‘IZ: Voice of the People‘ is a large-format, 190-page chronicle that benefits from unprecedented access to Kamakawiwo‘ole’s friends and family, including dozens of never-before-published photos and behind-the-scenes anecdotes that show both his admirable and not-so-admirable traits. “This is a beautiful picture book and an impressively honest biography of a talented and very human man,” writes Star-Bulletin entertainment writer John Berger. “[IZ] did the best he could to keep his personal demons at bay for as long as he could, and none of us can do more than that.” In an interview with Honolulu Advertiser book writer Wanda Adams, Carroll says he was originally going to publish the book on his own. But his vision soon won over Mountain Apple‘s John DeMello, Kamakawiwo’ole’s widow Marlene, and local publishing company Bess Press. In announcing the book, the company describes it as “a story about fame and celebrity and triumph over adversity, about a boy who rose from humble origins, overcame drugs, youth gangs, and the loss of his parents and his only brother to give hope to others.” The big book is a big step for the publisher and the author, with Barnes & Noble to sell it nationwide and with most of its 25,000-copy first run already sold.
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