Pacific Islands Books

Vaka MoanaI’ve been updating the books page on with fresh titles such as Islanders: The Pacific in the Age of Empire. In it author Nicholas Thomas recounts the impact of colonization on Polynesia and Melanesia. Thomas is also the author of Oceanic Art listed just above Islanders on my page. For a history of earlier times, you won’t go wrong with Vaka Moana, Voyages of the Ancestors: The Discovery and Settlement of the Pacific, a collection of essays edited by K. R. Howe. Worlds Apart by I. C. Campbell is a classic general history of the Pacific islands.

Armchair travelers may like 30 Days in the South Pacific: True Stories of Escape to Paradise edited by Sean O’Reilly, James O’Reilly, and Larry Habegger. I contributed a map to the book. Living the Dream by Vern Madison recounts a voyage by sailing yacht around the South Pacific and Southeast Asia. Serious sailors will also want to take aboard South Pacific Anchorages. The laminated and enlarged Pacific Centered Wall Map from World Classic measures 73” by 48” and will look great in your den, office, or cabin.

The Pacific Arts of Polynesia and Micronesia by Adrienne L. Kaeppler is an outstanding introduction to the subject. In the literature category there’s We Are the Ocean, selected works by noted humorist and art historian Epeli Hau’ofa. The Birds of Northern Melanesia: Speciation, Ecology, and Biogeography is co-authored by famed ecologist Jared Diamond and biologist Ernst Mayr.

This is only a selection of the 51 books and maps in my Pacific Islands Bookstore. There are book covers for all titles, brief descriptions, and links to book sites in the U.S., Canada, Britain, Germany, and France where you’ll find more information. For viewers in Australia and New Zealand, Fishpond links are provided. If it’s travel guides you’re looking for, click through to Maps and Guides page on which displays the latest editions of all leading guidebooks to the South Pacific.