James Cook never laid eyes on the sea until he was in his teens. He then began an extraordinary rise from farmboy outsider to the hallowed rank of captain of the Royal Navy, leading three historic journeys that would forever link his name with fearless exploration (and inspire pop-culture heroes like Captain Hook and Captain James T. Kirk). In Farther Than Any Man, noted modern-day adventurer Martin Dugard strips away the myth of Cook and instead portrays a complex, conflicted man of tremendous ambition (at times to a fault), intellect (though Cook was routinely underestimated) and sheer hardheadedness.
When Great Britain announced a major circumnavigation in 1768 -- a mission cloaked in science, but aimed at the pursuit of world power -- it came as a political surprise that James Cook was given command. Cook's surveying skills had contributed to the British victory over France in the Seven Years' War in 1763, but no commoner had ever commanded a Royal Navy vessel. Endeavor's stunning three-year journey changed the face of modern exploration, charting the vast Pacific waters, the eastern coasts of New Zealand and Australia, and making landfall in Tahiti, Tierra del Fuego, and Rio de Janeiro.
After returning home a hero, Cook yearned to get back to sea. He soon took control of the Resolution and returned to his beloved Pacific, in search of the elusive Southern Continent. It was on this trip that Cook's taste for power became an obsession, and his legendary kindness to island natives became an expectation of worship -- traits that would lead him first to greatness, then to catastrophe.
Full of action, lush description, and fascinating historical characters like King George III and Master William Bligh, Dugard's gripping account of the life and gruesome demise of Capt. James Cook is a thrilling story of a discoverer hell-bent on traveling farther than any man.
In a strong effort "to clear away the tangle of myth and hero-worship" that surrounds his subject, Dugard (Knockdown: The Harrowing True Account of a Yacht Race Turned Deadly), a well-known adventurer himself, deftly recounts the exciting story of James Cook, a farm boy from northern England who at first worked on merchant ships and then, when offered a chance to captain his own ship, turned his employer down and joined the Royal Navy. Cook started at the bottom and worked his way up, but knew he was not from the right social class to advance to captain. However, others recognized his talents: Cook was the first noncommissioned Royal Navy officer to be appointed to command a vessel. His trek with the Endeavour which began in 1768 and circumnavigated the globe, charted the coasts of New Zealand, scouted numerous Pacific isles and retrieved botanist Joseph Banks (who grew to respect Cook after trying to steal command of his ship) brought Cook international fame. Dugard recounts Cook's four-year voyage with the Resolution, which also sailed around the world while trying to locate the coasts of the legendary Southern Continent (Antarctica). By the end of this voyage, Dugard contends, Cook's ego had begun to get in the way of his talent. Thereafter, Cook began to make errors and became tyrannical at sea. This character change ultimately cost Cook his life when he was slain by Hawaiian natives. Well researched, with information from Cook's own journals, this fast-paced book brings to life the English explorer driven to outclass his predecessors and contemporaries.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Inspiring Story of Exploration
Duggard’s telling of Capt. Cook’s explorations is captivating. He presents the story with details you wish you had when you first learned about Cook. It is a tale of courage, perseverance, and accomplishment - and ultimately how pride, conceit, and stubbornness became his undoing.