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On the Road of the Winds: An Archæological History of the Pacific Islands before European Contact Paperback – March 15, 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A grand synthesis. Kirch has done Pacific archaeology proud with this book."--Peter Bellwood, "Antiquity"

From the Inside Flap

"Pat Kirch summarizes the extraordinary explosion of the last two decades in our knowledge of Pacific prehistory, an explosion to which he has contributed more than anyone. His synthesis brings together results from all of the subfields of anthropology--ethnography, archaeology, biological anthropology, and linguistics.. . . No one knows this material as well or can present it in such an effective manner. This book should stand for a generation as the major synthesis of Oceanic prehistory."—Timothy Earle, author of How Chiefs Come to Power

"After nearly four decades of teaching the culture history of Oceania, I can say this is the only up-to-date work that gives a balanced and detailed account of Polynesia, Micronesia, Island Melanesia, and Papua-New Guinea. Moreover, Kirch is one of the more engaging writers of general books about the Pacific. This is the first book to which scholars and general readers will go to pursue any topic relating to Pacific archaeology."—Roger C. Green, Emeritus Professor, University of Auckland
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 446 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; New Ed edition (March 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520234618
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520234611
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #178,489 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Patrick Vinton Kirch is renowned for his faith in the multidisciplinary approach to understanding Oceanic and Pacific history and culture before European contact. On the Road of the Winds is his great synthesis on the subject to date based on that holistic perspective, drawing together information from the fields of archaeology, historical linguistics, comparative ethnology and biological anthropology, while emphasising that these disciplines are not bound to co-vary. This is largely a scholarly historical archaeological text (but with numerous photographs and tables listing sites with details replacing tedious description) and arises, as the author explains, as a result of the archaeological aspect largely being ignored until after the war. Anthropologists until then had been constrained by preconceived beliefs of Pacific cultures having been fairly recent and unchanging arrivals; nations without history. The emphasis of research had been placed firmly on ethnology using outdated - even racist - typology mingled with some good and some dubious linguistic analysis. Since then a fascinating narrative of rich historical cultures, some containing extraordinarily elaborate constructions and of complex social structures and hierarchies that we are only now beginning to understand, has been uncovered by archaeological excavations.

It is as well for the reader to familiarise his or herself with some basic concepts at the outset and these are largely outlined in an introduction.
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Kirch's book updates his previous "The evolution of the Polynesian chiefdoms" and synthesizes numerous technical publications on the pre-history of the South Pacific. Very well written and very readable. Recommended for anyone interested in the Pacific islands before the explorers and missionaries arrived.
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I really love this book. It is just so fascinating- a culture that crosses the Pacific and stays interconnected and then, somehow, the bonds are broken and some islands are cut off. The archeology discussed is great reading. I am really happy I bought this book
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A factual glimse into the technologies, capabilities and migrations of the ancient polynesians. Tracking their migrations eastward throughout the pacific. This historically accurate and easily understandable text provided an accurate account of the ancient way finders.
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By Felicia on December 9, 2013
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Great book. Perfect and exactly what i was looking for for my Arthopology class . THank you! Excellent Used condition. Loved how every now and then it had main points highlighted. Helped alot to explan the overall meaning of the text.
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Format: Paperback
This book is great for the interested nonspecialist. It covers a great deal of ground, is honest about the parts of the story where we don't know much, but doesn't obsess over these gaps. It isn't formatted as a coffee-table book - there is a fair bit of scholarly detail - but I dare anyone to read for 20 pages and put it down.
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When my grown son was in grammar school, he had to write a paper about Easter Island. We went to our local library to do the research but there was not much available besides the book Kon Tiki. When I typed the paper for my son I was caught up in the mystery of Easter Island and the story of it's people. This book expands beyond Easter Island and lays the ground work to see how all the Polynesian islands were settled, even to New Zealand. Most interesting reading about the early explorers who, in some cases, braved head hunters to visit and write about those Pacific Islands.
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