How, asks John Terrell in this richly illustrated and original book, can we best account for the remarkable diversity of the Pacific Islanders in biology, language, and custom? Traditionally scholars have recognized a simple racial division between Polynesians, Micronesians, Melanesians, Australians, and South-east Asians: peoples allegedly differing in physical appearance, temperament, achievements, and perhaps even intelligence. Terrell shows that such simple divisions do not fit the known facts and provide little more than a crude, static picture of human diversity.
'... a stimulating and critical assessment of the history of the Pacific Islands.' New Scientist