Upcoming Event

Christina Thompson

presents

Sea People:
The Puzzle of Polynesia

This event includes a book signing

Date

Mar
12
Tuesday
March 12, 2019
7:00 PM

Location

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Tickets

This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store welcomes CHRISTINA THOMPSON—editor of Harvard Review and award-winning author of Come On Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All—for a discussion her latest book, Sea People: The Puzzle of Polynesia.

About Sea People

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.

Praise

“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, bestselling author of Longitude and The Glass Universe

“Who hasn’t stayed up late reading South Sea tales? Christina Thompson’s Sea People is a South Sea tale to top them all—the exploration and settlement of the vast Pacific Ocean by stone-age Polynesians—and every word is true. It’s a compelling story, beautifully told, the best exploration narrative I’ve read in years.” —Richard Rhodes, author of Energy: A Human History and the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Making of the Atomic Bomb

“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

Christina Thompson
Christina Thompson

Christina Thompson

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. Her essays and criticism have appeared in numerous publications, including Vogue, the American Scholar, and three editions of Best Australian Essays. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship 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.

Photo Credit: Maria Stenzel

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes

As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.

Unable to attend a Harvard Book Store author event? You can still pre-order a signed book by one of our visiting authors.

While we can't guarantee fulfillment of a signed book pre-order, our authors are almost always able to sign extra books to fulfill such orders.

Ordering a signed book on harvard.com:

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  • Specify in Order Comments that you want a signed copy of the book.
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FAQ:

Can I request a personalized inscription?
Unless otherwise noted, we are happy to take requests for the author to sign your book to a specific person, but we can't guarantee it. If you do get a personalized inscription, the book will be non-returnable. We will require credit card information when you place the order.

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