Sunday, November 14, 2021

Book: Nicholas Thomas' "Voyagers: The Settlement Of The Pacific"

One of the greatest exploration and colonization events in world history is the settlement of the pacific islands by people in relatively small watercraft and little or no navigational technology.  Men and women boarded craft and headed out onto the vast pacific ocean not knowing what, if anything, lay over the horizon.  No greater leap of faith has humanity ever made.

Nicholas Thomas' "Voyagers: The Settlement of the Pacific" gives a cursory account of how this magnificent feat was achieved.  The book did not go into the depth that I hoped but I suspect that is because primary source material is limited.  Most of the book is based on western explorers and islanders who traveled with them.  There is rarely mention of local histories but I suspect that is because these histories were oral and thus many have been lost to time.

As I read this book my thoughts went to those intrepid people who embarked on one way trips to places unknown.  I imagine, for every expedition that found and settled a new island, uncountable others perish from hunger, thirst, and the power of the sea.

I gave this book four out of five stars on Goodreads.  I wish it had more depth and detail but if it had it would be more a work of speculation than history.

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