Captain James Cook was the greatest explorer of his age, perhaps of any age. He was a leader of men, a master voyager who journeyed to unknown places, a seeker of knowledge who commanded three demanding scientific expeditions. He and his crews had encounters with peoples of the South Seas which could lead to mutual respect and trade, but also to misunderstanding and violence. Even before he died his exploits were widely admired. But his death at the hands of Hawaiians turned him into a legendary figure, a hero of the Enlightenment, who was said to have brought "e;civilization"e; to the Pacific while giving up his own life in the process. Yet despite everything that is known about Cook's life and many adventures, the man himself remains shrouded in mystery. Even J.C. Beaglehole, the legendary editor of Cook's Journals, acknowledged the problem: 'Everybody knows Cook's name; yet, I have always felt, extraordinarily little is known about him. He is an exceptionally difficult man to get inside'. With this book, Dan O'Sullivan seeks to do just that and casts vivid light on Cook's character, teasing out his personality from the pages of his own journals - cautious, objective-seeming texts, full of the minutiae of daily events which are almost the only sources available for one of the outstanding figures of his generation and of his country. Presenting Cook's life thematically, O'Sullivan examines his ideas and attitudes - towards his men, the Pacific Islanders, sex, god and death - in the context of the ideas and conflicts of the turbulent 18th century As well as an original and illuminating re-examination of Cook's complex character, this is also a vivid introduction to his life and times which is essential reading for anyone with an interest in this incomparable sea-captain.
In Search of Captain Cook
Exploring the Man Through His Own Words