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The book is a comprehensive, up-to-date, authoritative and readable account of Tongan society from its origins 3000 years ago to the present. It discusses its archaeology, the development of traditional society, and the transition of that society to modernity. Social change, economic development and political change are dominant themes. Modern Tonga was molded by dramatic changes in the nineteenth century during which the population converted to Christianity, and a formal state was established under a written constitution. Tonga is less isolated, more prosperous and yet seemingly more troubled now than at any time in its history.
Dr Ian Campbell was born in Australia but spent some early years in Tonga. Educated in Australia at the Universities of New England and Adelaide, he was subsequently on the academic staff of the University of Canterbury for two decades, and was later Professor of History and Politics at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji. He is the author of numerous academic publications.