Tom Koppel wrote Kanaka (1995), the first book about the Hawaiian pioneers of British Columbia. They were mainly brought to the West Coast of North America, from Oregon to Alaska, by the Hudson's Bay Company's recruiting office in Honolulu.

Based largely on recent research by Canadian scientists, particularly in the field of underwater archaeology, Koppel's Lost World (2003) argues that the first migrants into the Americas were maritime people who came from Asia by sea, around the North Pacific Rim, not as hunters by land via the Bering Strait land bridge. It was featured on CBC's Quirks and Quarks, was a finalist for Victoria's Butler Book Prize, and won cash awards from both the Canadian Archaeological Association and the Canadian Science Writers Association.

Koppel also wrote the first book about the Ballard fuel cell and its development in North Vancouver, Powering the Future (1999). It was named one of the ten best business books of 1999 by and it made him a finalist for Canada's National Business Book Award for 2000. It was published in Japanese and German translations in 2001.

Ebb and Flow (2007) examines the history and science of tides, with particular emphasis on Canadian and British Columbian tides. According to the book jacket, Koppel, explores how tides impact coasts and marine life, how they have altered human history and development, and how science has striven to understand the surprisingly complex way in which tides actually work. "Tides shape our world. They have sculpted shorelines, transformed early life on Earth, and changed the course of civilization. Tides frustrated Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar, and aided General MacArthur. They govern the way our planet moves, provide us with an alternative source of energy, and may be aggravating global climate change."

Based on many years of travel and research, Tom Koppel's fifth popular book of history and science, Mystery Islands: Discovering the Ancient Pacific (University of the South Pacific Press $40 2012) describes an epic journey that spans millennia and enormous distances on the world's largest ocean. Koppel ponders how ancient voyagers spread culture and language, agriculture and architecture, religion and rituals across Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. It includes his account of kayaking through the ruins of a royal city built on an archipelago of islets off Pohnpei more than 1,000 years ago, as well as surprising information about familiar travel destinations such as Hawaii, New Zealand and the Galapagos Islands. The 376-page book includes 16 pages of high quality color photos from years of research trips, exploration and adventures among the Pacific islands, as well as two maps, a bibliography and index. Contact

Among his many achievements, Koppel claims to be the first Canadian journalist to work in Russian, with salary, office and travel privileges, at a major Soviet newspaper, for Rabochaya Gazeta, in Kiev (Ukraine), during the winter of 1989/90. Koppel has a B.A. (economics) from the University of Pennsylvania, 1966, and a Ph.D. (political science) from the University of Wisconsin, 1972 (Russian and German studies). He received a Canadian Archaeological Association Public Communications Award in 1996 for his Canadian Geographic feature, "The Spirit of Haida Gwaii." In 2001 he received that same award again, along with an award from the Canadian Science Writers' Association, for his five-part feature series, "The Lost World," in the Vancouver Sun.

Review of author's work by BC Studies:
Kanaka: The Untold Story of Hawaiian Pioneers in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest
Mystery Islands: Discovering the Ancient Pacific


Mystery Islands: Discovering the Ancient Pacific (University of the South Pacific Press, 2012). 978-982-01-0888-2

Ebb and Flow: Tides and Life on Our Once and Future Planet (Dundurn, 2007).

Lost World: Rewriting History -- How New Science is Tracing America's Ice Age Mariners (Atria Books, 2003) 0743453573

Powering the Future: The Ballard Fuel Cell and the Race to Change the World (John Wiley & Sons, 1999).

Kanaka: The Untold Story of Hawaiian Pioneers in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest (Whitecap Books, 1995)

[Alan Twigg / BCBW 2021] "Science" "Hawaiian"