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Sea People: The Puzzle of Polynesia

Sea People: The Puzzle of Polynesia

Written by Christina Thompson

Narrated by Susan Lyons


Sea People: The Puzzle of Polynesia

Written by Christina Thompson

Narrated by Susan Lyons

ratings:
4.5/5 (87 ratings)
Length:
11 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Mar 12, 2019
ISBN:
9780062897572
Format:
Audiobook

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Description

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 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 combines the thrill of exploration with the drama of discovery in a vivid tour of one of the most captivating regions in the world.

Publisher:
Released:
Mar 12, 2019
ISBN:
9780062897572
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as ebookEbook

About the author

Christina Thompson is the editor of Harvard Review and the author of Come On Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All: A New Zealand Story, which was shortlisted for the Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-fiction and the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. Her essays and criticism have appeared in numerous publications, including Vogue, the American Scholar, the Journal of Pacific History, and three editions of Best Australian Essays. She is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, including a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, a Writer's Grant from the Australia Council, and a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar Award. A dual citizen of the US and Australia, she lives outside of Boston with her family.


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What people think about Sea People

4.6
87 ratings / 6 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    The author, having met, married, and had a family with a Maori man she met while conducting academic research in New Zealand, continues and expands her own exploration of Polynesian origins and culture in her second book. There's no geographical entity on the planet larger than the Pacific Ocean, nor any firm origin stories as to the background of its people and how they managed to navigate to and to populate so many distant, tiny islands even before European explorers appeared. Her writing style is simultaneously compelling and comfortable, a rare combination in a book of history and adventure - and still unsolved mysteries. She details modern attempts to recreate ancient voyages using techniques passed down via oral legends. If Thor Hyerdahl's Kon-Tiki was dry stuff, this is the fascinatingly juicy version.
  • (5/5)
    Pretty close to excellent. My only wish would have been for a summarizing chart or graph of some kind to make future reference easier. The basics I was familiar with, but much of the specifics I was not. Well written as well.
  • (5/5)
    Very well researched. Thank you for an excellent book that is great to listen to and learn from.
  • (5/5)
    So friggin fascinating. If you like natural history and mystery, read.
  • (5/5)
    Excellent research and deep delving into history, science, and myth.
  • (4/5)
    I have a fascination with how isolated cultures like Polynesians have thrived. Christina Thompson places her fascination in a collection of accounts dating back to early European explorers to modern DNA revelations. It becomes clear that nobody has the exact answers but there is respect to be found in Polynesian oral traditions that contributed to their navigational and survival abilities. Sea People highlights the evolving narrative of Polynesian history. Thompson is concise but includes enough detail to appreciate each segment of discovery.