Sea People: the Quest to Understand Who Settled the Islands of the Remote Pacific
`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 occupied the remotest islands in the Pacific Ocean, an enormous triangle stretching from Hawaii to New Zealand to Easter Island. Polynesians today can trace their roots back to a group of epic voyagers who first explored this vast expanse Sailing in large, double-hulled canoes, they were the first and, until the era of European discovery, the only people ever to have reached this part of the globe. Today, they are widely acknowledged as the world's greatest navigators. But how did these ancient mariners find all these islands? How did they reach them? Diving deep into the history of the Pacific, Christina Thompson uncovers who these voyagers were, where they came from, and how they managed to colonise every habitable island in Remote Oceania. A thrilling intellectual detective story, Sea People combines the thrill of exploration, the wonder of pursuit, and the drama of a gripping historical puzzle.
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 `A compelling story, beautifully told, the best exploration narrative I've read in years' Richard Rhodes, author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb `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 `Artfully written... Thompson writes with infectious awe and appreciation about Polynesian culture and with sharp intelligence about the blind spots of those investigating it at different times. This fascinating work could prove to be the standard on the subject for some time to come' Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) `An inspired history... A beautifully woven narrative... Thompson vividly captures the wondrousness of this region of the world as well as the sense of adventure tied up in that history' Kirkus
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.