The unravelling of an anthropological puzzle concerning a Polynesian island's social organization clarifies the strength and limitations of the anthropological approach to constructing knowledge.
'Robert Borofsky's Making History [is] one of the most original and thought-provoking ethnographies I have read in some time ... [it involces] parallel investigations of how ethnographer and native gather and validate knowledge, how they construct understandings of a culture's past and present, and how these understandings influence each other ... always provocative and incisive ... Making History offers a great deal to think about.' James Howe, Pacific Studies 'I recommend the book highly as a good anthropological read; the writing is lucid and stylish, and the contents rich and original.' Judith Huntsman, Man 'One of the finest [discussions] in the literature on the relationship between social context and the acquisition of knowledge ... It raises significant questions about the uses and meaning of the past both to Pukapukans and to ethnographers. There is much to learn from here.' Richard Price, Journal of American Folklore 'By locating ... problems [of knowing]substantively in Polynesian ethnography, the author adds an important chapter to arguments about ethnographic validity and authority.' Ivan Brady, American Anthropologist 'Borofsky breaks new ground in the study of sense-making ... and towards a comparative epistemology ... He has not only made an original contribution to the study of tradition as a continuously modified understanding, he has opened the door to a new room: the study of the development of ideas as situated in complex and interacting sociohistorical processes.' Roland Tharp, Anthropology & Education Quarterly 'Making History is a significant contribution to the growing dialogue and interpenetration of the disciplines and methodologies of anthropology and history ... [it] offers historians in particular much food for thought.' Caroline Ralston, Pacific Studies 'A very useful contribution to a discussion of some significant general problems as well as a mine of information on the development and recent state of Pukapukan society.' Sir Raymond Firth, Professor Emeritus, University of London