Voyagers: The Settlement of the Pacific

Basic. Jun. 2021. 224p. ISBN 9781541619838. $25. HIST
The Pacific Ocean covers nearly one-third of the Earth’s surface. Within that seemingly endless body of water lie thousands of islands. When European colonizers first came upon these far-flung islands, they were often surprised to find that they were already inhabited. What is more, over the years they discovered that Pacific Islanders and Europeans, though separated by extraordinary distances, shared many cultural traits, not the least of which were an intimate knowledge of celestial navigation and skilled boat building. In this latest work, Thomas (historical anthropology, Cambridge Univ.; director, Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology; Islanders: The Pacific in the Age of Empire) provides a sweeping investigation of the archaeology, genetics, and linguistics that scholars have used to understand how Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia were populated and grew into successful societies. Maps of the islands and photographs of the animals native to them help to guide readers and provide additional context.
VERDICT It could be said that this work is cursory in handling its biggest themes, but Thomas successfully draws readers into this fascinating, often-overlooked history and offers plenty of resources for those looking to read more.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing