I Respectfully Dissent, Tom Coffman’s portrait of Edward Nakamura, is both insightful biography and engrossing political history. The arc of the story may sound familiar (the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the GI Bill, Statehood), but it is strewn with surprise, resulting from Nakamura’s unshakable creed and unique angle of vision. Translating the political gains of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Nakamura played a central role—unpublicized—in devising arguably the most progressive program of legislation in an American state: universal health care, temporary disability insurance, collective bargaining rights for public workers, and more—all of which forever changed the Hawai‘i worker’s landscape.
“Rarely do we encounter someone who not only touches our daily lives but also shapes society for the better. Ed Nakamura was such a person, a visionary who lived simply, who was gentle in manner yet fierce in his life-long devotion to justice.” —Lowell Chun-Hoon, labor lawyer
May 2012 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3572-9 / $14.99 (PAPER)