What We Are Reading Today: Sea people by Christina Thompson

Updated 17 May 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: Sea people by Christina Thompson

  • The book combines narrative with facts in a very pleasant proportion

Sea People is a wonderful book about how and when the Polynesians ended up in Polynesia. 

Piecing together a vast number of elements including history, science, mysticism, folklore, archaeology and ancient genealogies, author Christina Thompson creates a mesmerizing account of the Polynesian puzzle. 

The book combines narrative with facts in a very pleasant proportion, said a review published in goodreads.com. 

“The really impressive facet of this book is the underlying theme of how western understanding of a foreign culture changes over time. The evolution of anthropological understanding as a study in ideas changing over time is fascinating,” it said.

The book “is essentially about the way centuries of well-intentioned Europeans have approached Polynesian culture as if it was a puzzle to be solved,” said another critic in goodreads.com. 

Thompson “sympathizes deeply with her cast of curious outsiders; she is herself a Westerner married to a Maori,” the review added. 


What We Are Reading Today: Democratic Equality by James Lindley Wilson

Updated 17 August 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: Democratic Equality by James Lindley Wilson

  • It mounts a bold and persuasive defense of democracy as a way of making collective decisions

Democracy establishes relationships of political equality, ones in which citizens equally share authority over what they do together and respect one another as equals. 

But in today’s divided public square, democracy is challenged by political thinkers who disagree about how democratic institutions should be organized, and by antidemocratic politicians who exploit uncertainties about what democracy requires and why it matters. 

Democratic Equality mounts a bold and persuasive defense of democracy as a way of making collective decisions, showing how equality of authority is essential to relating equally as citizens, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.

James Lindley Wilson explains why the US Senate and Electoral College are urgently in need of reform, why proportional representation is not a universal requirement of democracy, how to identify racial vote dilution and gerrymandering in electoral districting, how to respond to threats to democracy posed by wealth inequality, and how judicial review could be more compatible with the democratic ideal.