Politics, business and community interests often collide in modern Hawaii. In a small island state, there is no way to avoid it. One man who stood at the intersection of these three waves throughout his career is banker Walter Dods Jr.
Dods was born in Honolulu just before Pearl Harbor, the first of seven children in a close-knit family that struggled to pay its bills. From those modest beginnings, Dods grew to play a role in the modern history of Hawaii. He helped to sustain a political dynasty through his work for the campaigns of Gov. George Ariyoshi and Sen. Dan Inouye. He built the state’s largest and most successful business, First Hawaiian Bank/BancWest Corporation. His focus on community service and charitable fundraising has helped to support a society too often fractured by the divide between an immigrant, plantation past and the more modern forces of contemporary America.
This memoir describes many of the steps – and occasional missteps – along the way and concludes with Dods’ observations on the nature of power and ways in which Hawaii’s next generation can find success while staying true to “local values.”