Chasing a Dream: The Exploration of the Imaginary Pacific

Book Author  John Dunmore
Rights Available World excl. NZ, Chinese, Estonian

Early Europeans may have believed the world was flat, but by the Middle Ages there was widespread acceptance that it was, in fact, a globe. What remained a mystery, however, was what lay on the “other side”. Some believed it was a source of riches, an ocean harbouring countries where gold and unimaginable riches could be found, including islands from which King Solomon had obtained his wealth. In addition, the belief in a vast southern continent went back centuries, and many expeditions set out to find it, sometimes in search of wealth, sometimes to convert its inhabitants to Christianity.

This is the story of the voyages into this great unknown, by the Chinese and early Americans, the Dutch, Spanish, French and English; it recounts the exploits of pirates and scientists, and even the impact of popular fiction on popular imagination, leading to the debunking of many myths, from the sunken Great Southern Continent, to the idea that in the “antipodes”, people walked upside down.

About the Author
John Dunmore
, CNZM, Officier de la Légion d’honneur, Ordre des Palmes académiques, DLitt, PhD, is a much-published author and world authority on Pacific exploration, recognised for his service by the governments of both New Zealand and France. He has published over 30 books, and was responsible for finding and translating the journals of La Pérouse which had been lost in the French National Archives for over 200 years.



Upstart Press



Non Fiction


Age range

Publication Date

Rights Available:
World excl. NZ, Chinese, Estonian

Rights Sold:
Complex Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Estonian

Rights Agents:


Kevin Chapman, Upstart Press

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It was an excellent read; clear, to-the-point writing makes it accessible to any with an interest in the history of the Pacific.

Read NZ

Chasing a Dream is an overview of the way in which the Pacific first gripped the imaginations of Asian and European people, then the great ocean’s eventual charting – tentative and haphazard at first, then a more systematic exploration.

The Spinoff

The poor Pacific – misunderstood, misjudged and misinterpreted by Europe long after the great explorers of Polynesia were treating it like their watery backyard. But where there is mystery, imagination rushes in to fill the gap, and John Dunmore is exploring the relation between exploration and the imagination that inspired so much of it.

North & South

Dunmore describes in fascinating detail the contributions of the numerous key personalities devoted to unravelling the Pacific’s mysteries, and the search for the equally elusive northwest passage between the Pacific and the Atlantic.

Otago Daily Times

It's comprehensive, concise, approachable, engaging and educational, without plodding or verbosity.