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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best account of Cook's Voyages
Having read several account of the voyages Captain James Cook, I can without hesitation state that this is by far the superior of a generally excellent crop. The late Richard Hough ably captures the spirit of the age of exploration as well as producing a brilliant account of this exceptional man.
Hough also manages to hook the reader with the details of his major...
Published on 17 Nov 2004 by Simon McMahon

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4 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Where's the Context
The cover review says 'Highly readable', and I'll give it that, as I sailed through the book. It goes through Cooks life and journeys in a comprehensive manner, but giving every incident almost equal weight. But lots of the fascinating detail is missing, and it includes almost no context. Some of his life and incidents, and his contemporaries. For this, and an easier...
Published on 27 Feb 2007 by Piran


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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best account of Cook's Voyages, 17 Nov 2004
By 
Simon McMahon "Film Buff" (Chelmsford, Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Captain James Cook (Paperback)
Having read several account of the voyages Captain James Cook, I can without hesitation state that this is by far the superior of a generally excellent crop. The late Richard Hough ably captures the spirit of the age of exploration as well as producing a brilliant account of this exceptional man.
Hough also manages to hook the reader with the details of his major voyages of discovery. Not only are the pitfalls of sailing the pacific with a crew of less than perfect men discussed but also various incidents involving those joining himn on the voyage, botanists and artists among them Joseph Banks.
Unlike some of the drier biographies of Cook this reads more like a novel, yet still manages to remain true to the original sources, without the need felt by some to make sweeping gestures based on little evidence.
Where Hough really excels though is in getting across the spirit of excitement that must have been felt by both Cook and his men during these voyages. Whether it was meeting new groups among the islands or fighting off a group of Maori warriors the reader feels close to the action, and this is rare in such a well researched book. And Cook's death is handled superbly well, and by the end of the brutal attack I was left feeling emotional, another rarity in a historical biography.
I am planning to reread this book and would recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in exploration. Even if generally you find history off putting this is one book I believe anyone can read and enjoy.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating insight of a great man, 19 Nov 2002
By 
A. J. Watson "Bones" (Newcastle-on-Tyne, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Captain James Cook (Paperback)
I was prompted to buy this book after reading 'Endeavour' by Peter Aughton ... which painted a completely different picture of Cook to what I imagined. After reading 'Captain James Cook' I now realise how the misconception arose - on his last and most famous voyage, he presents a Mr.Hyde personality, completely out of keeping with his previous Dr.Jekyll style of running his ship and dealing with the natives he meets - little wonder the Hawaiians took revenge (in the worst possible way). Interesting too, is the side-study of Bligh, who was already showing signs of despotism and seems to have fostered Cook's decline into cruelty, autocratic rule over his crew and excessively harsh treatment of the natives.
The author poses the possibility that a medical condition precipitated this sudden change of character, but it may also have been early senility, Altzheimer's or dementia brought on by stress - who knows?
The book is full of interesting clips from various people's logs, which show other views of life under Cook's leadership. The main thrust of the book is not that Cook was in the right place at the right time, but that he made such a consummate job of ensuring that the surveys were carried out in a methodical manner, with a healthy crew and sound ship. After all, it was HIS decision on what type of ship to use, what food to keep the crew healthy, how to deal with the natives and his diplomacy that ensured that the first 2 voyages were such a resounding success.
All this is in sharp contrast to the last voyage, where he allowed the shipyard to take liberties with the refitting of his ships, the lack of diplomacy, his cruelty to the natives and his lack of patience with his crew. This only serves to reinforce what an extraordinary leader he had been.
A splendid read which has furthered my interest in history and exploration - more like this please! *****
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating insight of a great man, 16 May 2002
By 
A. J. Watson "Bones" (Newcastle-on-Tyne, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Captain James Cook (Paperback)
I was prompted to buy this book after reading 'Endeavour' by Peter Aughton (available from amazon.co.uk) which painted a completely different picture of Cook to what I imagined. After reading 'Captain James Cook' I now realise how the misconception arose - on his last and most famous voyage, he presents a Mr.Hyde personality, completely out of keeping with his previous Dr.Jekyll style of running his ship and dealing with the natives he meets - little wonder the Hawaiians took revenge (in the worst possible way). Interesting too, is the side-study of Bligh, who was already showing signs of despotism and seems to have fostered Cook's decline into cruelty, autocratic rule over his crew and excessively harsh treatment of the natives.
The author poses the possibility that a medical condition precipitated this sudden change of character, but it may also have been early senility, Altzheimer's or dementia brought on by stress - who knows?
The book is full of interesting clips from various people's logs, which show other views of life under Cook's leadership. The main thrust of the book is not that Cook was in the right place at the right time, but that he made such a consummate job of ensuring that the surveys were carried out in a methodical manner, with a healthy crew and sound ship. After all, it was HIS decision on what type of ship to use, what food to keep the crew healthy, how to deal with the natives and his diplomacy that ensured that the first 2 voyages were such a resounding success.
All this is in sharp contrast to the last voyage, where he allowed the shipyard to take liberties with the refitting of his ships, the lack of diplomacy, his cruelty to the natives and his lack of patience with his crew. This only serves to reinforce what an extraordinary leader he had been.
A splendid read which has furthered my interest in history and exploration - more like this please!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, especially if you've been to Oz or NZ, 5 Jan 2003
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This review is from: Captain James Cook (Paperback)
This is an extremely readable and interesting account of Cook's life quoting from his journal and that of others on his voyages. It conjures up the discoveries of places and peoples new to the British, the meeting of different cultures and his achievements as a navigator and leader. It is great to learn how the names of places now familiar in Australia and New Zealand were decided upon as he mapped them. The insight into life on ships at that time and the organisation of the voyages is fascinating.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cracking good read grommit, 15 Sep 2013
By 
Mr. Victor B. Hughes (North Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Captain Cook (Hardcover)
At times the author appears to include far more detail about other people than the captain - then you realise - the captain was a modest and focused guy - and enabled the great achievements of others without the need for great aclaim, hence the reliance on the texts of others. This is a cracking good "Boys-Own" ripping yarn - except - it isn't - it's the actual life story of a real person. What an extraordinary person and well captured by the author. Hough keeps the story going, it flows, hard to put the book down. But Mr Hough- you had a good subject to go at. Having traced the routes of Cook, the author has been able to add real atmosphere to the locations. Hough's lead up to the final moments of Cook's life really builds to a massive pathos - the only time I had to put the book down for a while, for reflection - so sad. Well done Mr Hough, I needed to know about Cook and you certainly helped me do that.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Introduction To The Life Of Captain Cook, 7 Nov 2002
By 
Mr. J. Walmsley "The Finch" (Liverpool) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Captain James Cook (Paperback)
I read this book after having read the Penguin edition of "The Journals Of Captain Cook". The journals were Cook's own written record of his 3 epic voyages into the Pacific and reading his first hands accounts proved fascinating. However while I was more than familiar with these events I had no real knowledge of how he came to join the navy or what events shaped the man.
This is where this book came in useful. It is a well written and pleasant read and an ideal introduction to the life of one of the worlds greatest explorers. It covers his early life, showing us how he went from coal ships in Yorkshire to the Royal Navy, where his skills were soon recognised as a result of his service in North America. Then we are taken through the voyages that would really make his name. These take up the majority of the book which is to be expected and provide a superb insight into the magnitude of Cook's achievements for science, geography and the human instinct to explore. For those who want a good summary and a story of discovery then this is ideal.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Well written story from history, 19 Mar 2014
By 
Ms. J. Bedford (UK) - See all my reviews
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I read this book for a course on travel medicine and found it quite a fascinating read. It discusses in detail the main voyages of Cook but also about him as a man and why he did things in a certain way. There is great deal of detail regarding the men that also sailed with him in various guises and roles - what he regarded for them. This book allows the reader to make their own mind up about this great voyager of our time without much prejudice. However I do believe Cook was either ill or certainly had a mental illness on his last voyage which certainly contributed to his lack of responsibility for his own welfare - which unfortunately led to his untimely and premature death
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4.0 out of 5 stars A great read of some amazing adventures, 14 Jan 2014
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I've now read many of the books about the amazing travels of the european explorers and this one is one of the best. Easy to read and well written. Would highly recommend
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5.0 out of 5 stars Captain James Cook, 12 Jun 2013
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Excellent read. Mr Hough gets the mix of fact information and excitement just right. it would be easy to get bogged down when writing about Cook's adventures but I loved the way it was written.
Delivered promptly and in good condition.
Highly recommended.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SHODDY MAPS LET IT DOWN, 28 Jan 2004
By 
D. J. Mills - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Captain James Cook (Paperback)
This is an excellent account of Cook's life and voyages. However, the paperback edition is badly let down by the wholly inadequate maps. They carry little detail, are badly reproduced and impossible to follow. To appreciate the narrative and Cook's achievements fully you'll need to supplement this volume with a good atlas or another book on Cook with decent maps. It is pretty idiotic of the publishers to produce a book on a navigator with such useless maps and I hope Mr Hough is suitably enraged with them.
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Captain James Cook
Captain James Cook by Richard Hough (Paperback - 3 Mar 2003)
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