Sea People: The Puzzle of Polynesia
by Christina Thompson
Publication: March 12th, 2019 by Harper
Genre: Anthropology, History, Nonfiction
A blend of Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel and Simon Winchester’s Pacific, a thrilling intellectual detective story that looks deep into the past to uncover who first settled the islands of the remote Pacific, where they came from, how they got there, and how we know.
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 colonize these far-flung islands? How did 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 combines the thrill of exploration with the drama of discovery in a vivid tour of one of the most captivating regions in the world.
Sea People includes an 8-page photo insert, illustrations throughout, and 2 endpaper maps.
About the author: Christina Thompson writes about the history of the Pacific. Her first book, Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All, was at once a history of 18th- and 19th-century New Zealand and a memoir of her marriage to a Maori man. Her second book, Sea People, is a history of the settlement of remote Oceania by the ancestors of the Polynesian people. A dual citizen of the US and Australia, she is the editor of Harvard Review and teaches writing and editing at Harvard University Extension. www.christinathompson.net
Review of Sea People: The Puzzle of Polynesia by Christina Thompson
Sea People: The Puzzle of Polynesia is a complex story of travel, history, archeology, and ancient genealogies written by Christina Thompson. A thrilling account of the Polynesian people who first settled the islands of the remote Pacific. This remote set of islands in the Pacific Ocean that forms an area that stretches from Hawaii to New Zealand to Easter Island. Thompson writes from personal experience as her Maori husband and their sons have descended directly from these ancient navigators. An intense and interesting look at a group of people that perk the curiosity of many history buffs as Thompson gives us a detailed summary of their culture and traditions.** I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.**