Sea People by Christina Thompson

Brendan’s Alternate Tagline: Where the hell did they come from?!

Quick synopsis: A look at the people of Polynesia: how’d they get there and how do we know (or not know, actually).

Fun Fact Non-History People Will Like: Page 147 contains the term, “cow-titty.” You’re damn right I giggled.

Fun Fact for History Nerds: We have made amazing strides in science. We can tell things like how old the Earth is and tell the relationships of people through their DNA.

Guess what we can’t figure out? How did the sweet potato get to Polynesia?! It’s native to North America only! How did it get there?! No one knows!

My Take: This book had a high probability of reading like a textbook. Dry facts and scientific studies which would bore the hell out of you. Luckily it doesn’t!

Polynesia is one of the coolest places to me. I love reading sea voyages about the early explorers in the area, especially my man Captain Cook. I am obviously not the first person who thought, “how the hell did anyone even make it out here? It’s water, water, water.”

Thompson does a great job of breaking down these thoughts by looking at how the people and languages dispersed through the regions and even how they physically got there. Well, kind of. Simply, we are still not 100% sure and probably never will be. Which makes the whole thing even cooler!

Seriously, look at a map and find Easter Island. How the hell did the first people get there? They must have been nuts! I love beachfront as much as anybody but come on be realistic.

Verdict: Enjoyable book which is more analysis than stories. Probably won’t be a fun book for people not interested in the area or only want a fun story.

If You Liked This Try:

  • Caroline Alexander, The Bounty
  • Nathaniel Philbrick, In the Heart of the Sea
  • Scott Ridley, Morning of Fire
  • Martin Dugard, Farther Than Any Man
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Sea People by Christina Thompson
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