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Endeavour: The Story Of Captain Cook's First Great Epic Voyage Hardcover – 13 Jun 2002

4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Cassell Publishing Ltd.; 1st edition (13 Jun. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0304362360
  • ISBN-13: 978-0304362363
  • Product Dimensions: 24.6 x 19.6 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 414,081 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

ENDEAVOUR has received a brilliant full-page illustrated review in the BIRMINGHAM POST: 'Aughton's fascinating account of Cook's epic journey ... is beautifully illustrated and superbly laid out, a classic example of a brilliantlydesigned historical narrative.' Ross Reyburn BBC HISTORY MAGAZINE are doing a cover story tie-in with the BBC 2 programme 'The Ship' about Endeavour. Peter Aughton is to write a 2000 word article about life on Endeavour for the Sep

Book Description

The story of the Endeavour has always been seen as a small part of Cook¿s biography when, in fact, the voyage is a complete narrative in its own right. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Format: Paperback
A great book, but I kept wanting more detail about the discoveries (both geographical and biological), although this would make the book much longer and it is only meant to be an overview of the voyage. Particularly interesting for me were the descriptions of Cook and Banks; previously, I had the impression that Cook was a strict disciplinarian and a well- seasoned captain from the landed gentry, instead of a relatively raw, working-class officer (albeit expert in navigation and surveys); and that Banks was a well-established, older member of the Royal Society, rather than the young rake on a personal collecting trip. This last impression is gradually overturned as we see Banks transform into an avid collector, graphic journalist and good friend of our rather dour Captain (who was in fact only a Lieutenant, surprisingly).
The story is well told, keeping the pace and not falling into the trap of describing every boring day between landfalls, but at the same time expanding on certain salient points - e.g. the rounding of The Horn and the protracted stay in Tahiti, which was a comfortable interlude for Cook, but a disaster for Bligh, - which goes to show how different characters handle the same situation (and how wrong my initial impression of Cook was)
Chapter 9 - The passage where the ship is holed on the reef is so tense, and the consequences of failure so terrible to contemplate, I was on the edge of my seat reading like crazy, but not wanting it to finish, it was so exciting.
After surviving the reef, the ship finally arrives at 'civilization' - Banks is less than complimentary on the living conditions in this 'palace in a dung-heap', which immediately begin to tell on the crew.
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Format: Paperback
In the jacket notes, Peter Aughton is described as "a story teller who can turn the world of science and navigation into food for the imagination." Excusing the repeated and obvious "Cook-book" puns, there is no truer summary of an historical work.
Drawing largely from Cook's own diaries in his "Voyages", Aughton turns historical event in to an exciting and illuminating narrative with the relationship between Cook and his on board botanist Banks an obvious influence for Patrick O'Brien's characters Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin. As one of the last great goals for human kind, the great southern continent remained undiscovered by Europeans in the 1700s. As scientific viewpoints added weight to the belief that the balance and tidal patterns of the globe indicated the presence of a great antipodean landmass, the British Admiralty sent the largely inexperienced James Cook off around to the opposite side of the earth on board the Endeavour in one of the most exciting voyages of discovery in all of human history. On the pretence that the voyage was undertaken exclusively to study the transit of Venus across the sun, the fears of the French in particular were allayed whilst Cook and his crew experienced storms, scurvy and setbacks yet also some great discoveries and the opportunity for the artist Sidney Parkinson to inscribe some of the first recorded images of flora and fauna from the other side of the world.
Negotiating, with great difficulty, the Strait Le Maire and Cape Horn at the Southern tip of South America, Cook's and Bank's adventures in the Pacific are told with enormous vitality by Aughton.
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Format: Hardcover
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This book has to be one of the most gorgeously produced non-fiction titles in this genre you will see for a long while. As a physical object, Aughton's "Endeavour" is superb - from the quality of the paper, to the typography, to the richness of the reproductions. The design and layout is novel, imaginative and very attractive. Nota bene - this book is printed in Italy - a provenance for all that is fine in the craft and style of the printing industry.
Content wise, you will find most of this material elsewhere, but Aughton's compilation is what makes it such a special work. An illustration of Mataroa Island in New Zealand drawn by one of Cook's companions shows prominent Maori fortifications and villages. This is the site where Cook claimed NZ for the British Crown. Go there today and it has been reclaimed by forest and is home to the endangered SaddleBack bird. It is fascinating to see what has happened in 232 years.
Aughton provides an insightful interpretation as to why Cook put so much time and effort into exploring, mapping and "discovering" the East Coast of Australia (pka New Holland). Aughton notes that after completing his successful astronomical mission to Tahiti, Cook opened his secret orders from the Admiralty. "Head west along the 40th Parallel until you reach Terra Australis Incognita". Beating their way into the teeth of the Roaring Forties winds took a toll on the Endeavour. When he reached Australia, he spent months trying to find a suitable place to careen, refit and re-supply his ship. Aughton implies that the howling westerlies of 40 degrees south may have led indirectly to the British colonisation of Australia. The alternative of course is that Aussies could have been francophones, living in Terre Napoleon.
"Endeavour" is a beautiful Cook book. A feast for the eyes as well as the mind - but keep it away from the kitchen.
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