Sea People: The Puzzle of Polynesia
`Wonderfully researched and beautifully written' Philip Hoare, author of Leviathan `Succeeds in conjuring a lost world' Dava Sobel, author of Longitude
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`Wonderfully researched and beautifully written' Philip Hoare, author of Leviathan `Succeeds in conjuring a lost world' Dava Sobel, author of Longitude For more than a millennium, Polynesians have occupied the remotest islands in the Pacific Ocean, a vast triangle stretching from Hawaii to New Zealand to Easter Island. Until the arrival of European explorers they were the only people to have ever lived there. Both the most closely related and the most widely dispersed people in the world before the era of mass migration, Polynesians can trace their roots to a group of epic voyagers who ventured out into the unknown in one of the greatest adventures in human history. How did the earliest Polynesians find and colonise these far-flung islands? How did a people without writing or metal tools conquer the largest ocean in the world? This conundrum, which came to be known as the Problem of Polynesian Origins, emerged in the eighteenth century as one of the great geographical mysteries of mankind. For Christina Thompson, this mystery is personal: her Maori husband and their sons descend directly from these ancient navigators. In Sea People, Thompson explores the fascinating story of these ancestors, as well as those of the many sailors, linguists, archaeologists, folklorists, biologists and geographers who have puzzled over this history for three hundred years. A masterful mix of history, geography, anthropology, and the science of navigation, Sea People is a vivid tour of one of the most captivating regions in the world.
Awards, Reviews & Star Ratings
||`I loved this book. I found Sea People the most intelligent, empathic, engaging, wide-ranging, informative, and authoritative treatment of Polynesian mysteries that I have ever read. Christina Thompson's gorgeous writing arises from a deep well of research and succeeds in conjuring a lost world' Dava Sobel, author of Longitude and The Glass Universe `To those of the western hemisphere, the Pacific represents a vast unknown, almost beyond our imagining; for its Polynesian island peoples, this fluid, shifting place is home. Christina Thompson's wonderfully researched and beautifully written narrative brings these two stories together, gloriously and excitingly. Filled with teeming grace and terrible power, her book is a vibrant and revealing new account of the watery part of our world' Philip Hoare, author of Leviathan `Who hasn't stayed up late reading South Sea tales? Christina Thompson's Sea People is a South Sea tale to top them all - the exploration and settlement of the vast Pacific Ocean by stone-age Polynesians - and every word is true. It's a compelling story, beautifully told, the best exploration narrative I've read in years' Richard Rhodes, author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb `The ten-million square miles known as Polynesia was the last area to be settled by humans and is still the least understood chapter in history. With a flair for making the past live again, Christina Thompson give us a comprehensive story of Polynesia and of those who have studied it. Sea People tells the story of a unique geographic, cultural, and intellectual voyage across water and through time. Essential reading for anyone seeking to understand Polynesia, the Pacific, or the spread of humanity around the globe' Jack Weatherford, author of Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World
Christina Thompson is the editor of Harvard Review and the author of Come On Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All, which was shortlisted for a NSW Premier's Literary Award for Nonfiction. A dual citizen of the US and Australia, she lives outside of Boston with her family.