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James Cook: The Journals (Penguin Classics) [Paperback]

Captain James Cook
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
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Book Description

2 Sep 1999 Penguin Classics
Cook led three famous expeditions to the Pacific Ocean between 1768 and 1779. In voyages that ranged from the Antarctic circle to the Arctic Sea, Cook charted Australia and the whole coast of New Zealand, and brought back detailed descriptions of the natural history of the Pacific. Accounts based on Cook's journals were issued at the time, but it was not until this century that the original journals were published in Beaglehole's definitive edition. The JOURNALS tells the story of these voyages as Cook wanted it to be told, radiating the ambition, courage and skill which enabled him to carry out an unrivalled series of expeditions in dangerous waters.

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James Cook: The Journals (Penguin Classics) + Captain James Cook + Captain Cook: The Life, Death and Legacy of History's Greatest Explorer
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Product details

  • Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Abridged Ed edition (2 Sep 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140436472
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140436471
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 7.8 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 88,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


A principal source for understanding European exploration of the Pacific in the eighteenth century. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW The most important book ever written about Cook. IAN BOREHAM, THE CAPTAIN COOK STUDY UNIT. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

This classic edition of Cook's journals, taken from the originalmanuscripts, improves on previous editions by incorporating into its rightful place the rare 'Cook and the Russians' pamphlet, and by its use of re-originated maps and artwork, and thus provides for the first time the definitive and complete version of Cook's Journals. A reliable and authoritative text, its republication has been warmly and widely welcomed. The volumes contain Cook's accounts of his three great voyages of discovery in the Endeavour and the Resolution; introductions and detailed notes accompany the texts, providing necessary identifications and references, and giving additional information from other sources supplementing Cook's account. More extended extracts from the journals of Cook's shipmates are printed as appendices. A separate portfolio (included) contains the manuscript charts and views drawn by Cook and his officers, which he regarded as an essential complement to his Journals. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Take Part In A Voyage Of Discovery 17 July 2001
This is a fantastic book... adventure, geography, science and history all rolled into one. It really is a unique experience to be able to read the words written during voyages that changed the worlds understanding of the Pacific and the globe in general. Do not read it however expecting a work of art in terms of the English language. Captain Cook did not write for a living, and sometimes sections of the book are hard going to the reader. However that is surely a small price to pay for a vivid first hand description from the man himself. I found it particullary interesting to read about Australia and New Zealand as they were, and before colonisation had begun. Cook is to Australians, as Colombus is to Americans. Buy it now......
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hard going but interesting 5 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Parts of this book were really interesting, but other aspects were quite hard going. I found Cook's observations of the natives he met and his descriptions of the islands to be the most interesting. unfortunately these are few and far between. He treats the natives and his crew with great respect and comes across as a kind, considerate and intelligent man. At times you forget you are reading a journal written so long ago.

However the nautical references start to get a bit much and I tended to skip parts as they were very repetitive, especially when they had been at sea for long periods with not much happening.

if you want a transcript of his diary, as the title suggests, and have some knowledge of all things nautical then this is the book for you.

On balance I don't think this was the right choice of book for me. I would have preferred more of a summary of his voyages with less nautical references. He took an artist with him on his voyages and often refers to animals and plants so copies of the drawings of these would have been interesting. I also would have liked to know how his wife and children were managing whilst he was at sea. Very little is said about them.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Personal account 22 Feb 2011
By Blake
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Looking for a personal account of the voyage, what better one than the journal of James Cook himself? It doesnt disappoint. For the detailed reader, it has many many entries of nautical measurements and positions. Many days at sea logged by the man himself makes surprisingly good reading. If you want to feel closer to the man James Cook was, his writings and style, old English and quality of his self discipline shows through his writings. Its interesting to note his findings on native peoples around the world and the encounters and problems he had with them from his perspective. Of course you feel more familiar with him and his perspective as a European from the 17th century than the natives he encountered which makes engrossing reading.

Well highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Although this edition of Cook's 'Journals' shows evidence of various levels of later tweaking and revision by Cook, it nevertheless retains a very vivid sense of all the practical and logistical difficulties that he faced in his three great voyages, to the extent that you can almost put yourself back into the situation that faced him at the start of his explorations when the South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand were virtually blanks on the map except for a few unconnected and largely forgotten landfalls by Tasman and others long before. Even when you know that he survived, it can be quite gripping when Cook is fighting his way around Cape Horn or picking an infinitely careful route through the Great Barrier Reef, and very nearly coming to grief in the process.

Cook's journals make plain what we find too easy to forget, how the business of exploring and charting unknown and often hazardous coasts was hampered by the limitations of working a sailing ship against prevailing winds, by a huge range of practical issues like finding fresh water and suitable food to keep scurvy at bay, and by unending problems of what we'd now call 'human resources' management - which in Cook's case included potentially hostile native peoples, drunken and unruly sailors and marines, and his accompanying band of aristocratic and self-important scientists. Cook often seems a dry and understated professional, but he occasionally shows flashes of what seems quite a modern sense of humour: 'he being one of those gentlemen, frequently found on board Kings Ships, that can very well be spared, or to speake more planer good for nothing'.

I found that having read the 'raw material' as it were, I at once wanted to go on to find more commentary and analysis to fill in the background to these extraordinary voyages. But this remains the basic source, and it's very useful to have it available in such an inexpensive and unobtrusively edited format.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shiver me timbers! What a great read it was. 7 April 2009
I first came across these diaries when I read a quote from them on the internet somewhere. Until that point I didn't even realise Captain Cook had wrote a diary, and once I found out I was soon on Amazon ordering a copy. It was suprisingly easy to read considering it was wrote in the late 1700's, and theres nothing better in my opinion than personal accounts. It's a fascinating read, from their travels in the freezing, silent Antartic waters, to their sailing between the pacific islands, as scores of canoes come out to greet them and welcome them ashore. Theres hundreds of events, comments etc in the book, that will make you laugh, teach you something new or have you re-reading the sentence in disbelief and that to me is the sign of a really good book.
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