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Sea People: The Puzzle of Polynesia

av Christina Thompson

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
4121761,058 (4.15)20
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. Sea People includes an 8-page photo insert, illustrations throughout, and 2 endpaper maps.… (mer)
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Traces the edges of what we can and can't know about the history of how the Polynesian Triangle was settled, following threads of myth, ethnocentrism, and error as well as different ways of knowing. Mind-blowing. ( )
  yarmando | Jan 20, 2024 |
4.5 ( )
  mmcrawford | Dec 5, 2023 |
Heartily recommended. A constantly eye-opening read, sensitively tracking the attempts to understand Polynesian origins and culture, from the arrival of the first Western explorers to the growing Polynesian self-discovery and self-determination of the last 50 years. A treat to see the world from such a different perspective. ( )
  therebelprince | Oct 24, 2023 |
This non-scholarly, yet deeply researched, book about the people of Polynesia (everything in the triangle formed by Hawai‘i, Easter Island (Rapa Nui) and New Zealand (Aotearoa) should satisfy anyone curious about the region, its history and its people. It's structured around the chronology of European discovery, anthropology and archeology of the islands, beginning with Cook and continuing to the present, each century and decade peeling away another layer of the mystery. Not all of the questions have been answered. But a clearer overall understanding as begun to emerge from the mists of time. ( )
  zot79 | Aug 20, 2023 |
What this book does best is convey how incredible an achievement the settlement of Polynesia was. Untangling the timeline and methods was an intellectual puzzle that Thompson relates with the taut pacing of a mystery novel. With each unexplained piece of evidence, the instinct of many investigators seems to have been to doubt or diminish the skill of the Polynesian navigators; at times, they appear to have been looking for any other explanation, regardless of plausibility. Thompson shows how misguided this instinct was, and instills the appropriate respect for those navigators. ( )
  NickEdkins | May 27, 2023 |
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For we are dear to the immortal gods,
Living here, in the sea that rolls forever,
Distant from other lands and other men.

--Homer, the Odyssey
(translated by Robert Fitzgerald)
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Kealakekua Bay lies on the west, or leeward, side of the Big Island of Hawai'i, in the rain shadow cast by the great volcano Mauna Loa.
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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. Sea People includes an 8-page photo insert, illustrations throughout, and 2 endpaper maps.

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