Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Farther Than Any Man: The Rise and Fall of Captain James Cook

Farther Than Any Man: The Rise and Fall of Captain James Cook

4.4 21
by Martin Dugard

See All Formats & Editions

In the annals of seafaring and exploration, there is one name that immediately evokes visions of the open ocean, billowing sails, visiting strange, exotic lands previously uncharted, and civilizations never before encountered -- Captain James Cook.
This is the true story of a legendary man and explorer. Noted modern-day adventurer Martin Dugard, using James


In the annals of seafaring and exploration, there is one name that immediately evokes visions of the open ocean, billowing sails, visiting strange, exotic lands previously uncharted, and civilizations never before encountered -- Captain James Cook.
This is the true story of a legendary man and explorer. Noted modern-day adventurer Martin Dugard, using James Cook's personal journals, strips away the myths surrounding Cook's life and portrays his tremendous ambition, intellect, and sheer hardheadedness to rise through the ranks of the Royal Navy -- and by his courageous exploits become one of the most enduring figures in naval history.
Full or realistic action, lush descriptions of places and events, and fascinating historical characters such as King George III and the soon-to-be-notorious Master William Bligh, Dugard's gripping account of the life and death of Captain James Cook is a thrilling story of a discoverer hell-bent on going farther than any man.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Clive Cussler A brilliantly written saga of history's greatest explorer.
Library Journal
Like Pizarro and Cortez, Capt. James Cook changed history by discovering unknown lands and opening them up to European settlement. Born to a farming family in 1729, Cook longed for a career at sea, apprenticed himself to a shipping company, and after nine years rose to the rank of captain in the merchant marine. On the verge of a profitable career, he resigned to enlist in the Royal Navy and soon became an officer an improbable feat in the 18th century. After service in Canada in the French and Indian War, he was given command of a survey ship and spent time charting eastern Canada. Later, he commanded three epic voyages to the South Pacific, in 1769, 1772, and 1776, discovering Tahiti, New Zealand, Tonga, New Caledonia, and many other islands. In 1779, he arrived at the Kona coast of the big island of Hawaii, where hostile natives killed, steamed, and ate him. There are few exemplary biographies of Cook, and Dugard has written a masterly one-volume account of the great explorer's life. It belongs in all public and academic libraries. Stanley L. Itkin, Hillside P.L., New Hyde Park, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A thoroughly readable biography of the famed sea captain and explorer. Nautically inclined journalist Dugard (Knockdown, 1999, etc.) applies the techniques of the sports-magazine profile to the life of Captain James Cook, the 18th-century mariner who, he notes, metamorphosed through time into both Captain Hook of Peter Pan and Captain Kirk of Star Trek. Dugard's sometimes breathless, you-are-there approach, though hardly the stuff of standard maritime history, is quite satisfying, capturing Cook's irrepressible bravery and the spirit of adventure that fueled his circumnavigations. He is also skilled at capturing period detail and of deciphering the intricacies of the English class system—by the rules of which, he observes, Cook should not have enjoyed the success that he did (he was the only noncommissioned officer in the history of the Royal Navy to have risen to the rank of ship commander), given that he was the son of a lower-class Jacobite rebel and was resolutely nonpolitical in a fiercely politicized military culture. Dugard is less satisfying as an interpreter of Cook's doubtless fine mind, relying (in the absence of solid documentation and in the face of Cook's own efforts to shield his thoughts) on guesswork and turning to such New Age accouterments as Carl Jung's personality-typing theories to account for Cook's manner of doing things (he brands Cook an INTJ—an Introvert, Intuitive, Thinker, Judger—whose "drive to transfer . . . dreams into reality can even come across as eccentric to those who don't share the vision"). The author's readiness to speculate so freely will earn him demerits from serious historians, but general readers won't much mind. Instead,they're likely to enjoy Dugard's well-made narrative, and to come away sharing his abundant admiration for the admirable—and ultimately unfortunate—Cook.

Product Details

Washington Square Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.80(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: Land of Hopes and Dreams

August 1768

The summer had been one of the hottest on record. The Friday-night air was muggy, or "close" as Londoners liked to say, when James and Elizabeth Cook spent their last night together before Endeavour's departure. Through the open bedroom window of their cramped brick row house, the mingled aromas of fermenting juniper from the gin distillery next door and the open sewers of Mile End Road below wafted past the thin curtains. He was thirty-nine, stoic and six foot plus, with shoulders squared from leaning hard into many a rope. She was twenty-six, a pretty, extroverted former shop girl hours away from losing her husband, lover, companion, confidant, and soul mate for three years -- maybe forever.

Seventy miles away, HM Bark Endeavour waited for Cook at the mouth of the English Channel, in the port of Deal. The week before she had been eased from the clutter of Deptford Yard and guided down the Thames by a river pilot. In the morning Cook would travel to Deal by coach. There he would discharge the pilot and begin a voyage around the world.

The bedroom is a private place, and what went on between the two of them that night of August 5, 1768, can only be conjecture. But James and Elizabeth, married six years, were devoted to one another. Their courtship had been whirlwind, with mere weeks elapsing from meeting to marriage. And while he'd spent six months each year charting North America, James was never unfaithful in his travels.

Elizabeth, for her part, was unswerving in the belief that her self-assured sailor was destined for greatness. They endured the separations, knowing that each hard-won assignment was another rung up the competitive ladder of Royal Navy career advancement. Silently, smugly, they ached for those passionate, frantic nights of homecoming. Their three children -- boys James and Nathaniel, and baby Elizabeth -- had all been born either forty weeks after the start of a voyage or forty weeks after Cook had returned home. Now Elizabeth alone would care for them.

On this last night, James and Elizabeth might have dreamed of the time between their next meeting, but they probably avoided discussing the most pressing concern of all: that his profession was one of the most perilous on earth, and even veteran sailors such as Cook weren't immune to the sea's dangers. Whether by shipwreck, fire, cannibals, mutiny, shipboard fighting, scurvy, suicide, or just plain accidental drowning, death occurred to at least a few members of every crew, on every long voyage. To make matters worse, Endeavour would be alone, without a companion ship to rescue James and the crew in case something went wrong. Speaking of these dangers would have rendered James and Elizabeth's last night together maudlin, detracting from the romance of a man and woman hours away from a three-year separation.

For all the anxiety, however, the coming morning held incredible promise. James Cook would not only begin an epic voyage, he would make history. His unorthodox decision to leave a promising career in merchant sailing thirteen years earlier, then start all over again at the bottom of the Royal Navy's enlisted ranks, would finally be validated. He had already become the first man in Royal Navy history to rise from the bottom of those ranks to an officer's commission and command. Now, rewriting the rules for career advancement, he was joining the very short list of men given command of voyages around the world.

Preparation had consumed Cook all summer. Each morning he had ferried across the river, leaving Britain's great symbols -- the Admiralty building, Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London -- behind him on the Thames's north bank. On the south shore, Cook had turned left and entered the East End waterfront tenement and warehouse slums Charles Dickens would someday make famous in Oliver Twist. Walking the narrow cobblestone path, Cook could smell the rot of trash piled in alleys, the stench of urine pooled at the base of walls outside taverns, and almost taste the thick, black grease of cooking oil and smoke. Some days there were riots, too, brought on by the heat and the overcrowded slums. Endeavour and Cook weren't so much setting sail from the chaos as fleeing.

The goals set forth for Cook's journey were lofty and came at a crucial moment for both Britain and the world. The year 1768 was in the middle of what writers were calling the Age of Enlightenment, with mankind shaking off centuries of darkness to embrace learning and reason once again. Science was sexy, peace reigned, and a growing belief in personal liberty was blurring the lines between the upper and lower classes.

Enlightenment or no, however, a handful of nations were behaving as nations had since the beginning of time, jockeying for global dominance. And no nation was pushing more frantically than Great Britain. The tiny island nation (England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland) controlled the seas from India to the Americas. She had recently vanquished archfoe France in the Seven Years' War -- taking full possession of North America, temporarily ending the French military threat they had endured since the Norman Conquest, and even gaining concessions from the argumentative Spanish (who had belatedly joined the war on the side of France), thus rendering the Iberian Peninsula's residents little more than a respected nuisance.

The focus of world exploration in February 1768 was the Southern Hemisphere. Most everything of note that could be discovered above the equator -- save the legendary Northwest Passage -- had been. The Portuguese and the Spanish, then the mercantile Dutch, had seen to that. But below the equator lay vast swaths of mystery. The bumbling but ambitious king of England, George III, devised a plan to send a single vessel of discovery around the globe. The voyage would be hailed as a scientific expedition (and science would truly be a vital aspect of its mission). The greater aim, however, was the discovery and conquest of the legendary Southern Continent -- Antarctica. Since Ptolemy in the second century, the idea of the Southern Continent had bewitched powerful men, burgeoning from the theoretical -- its existence at the bottom of the world was necessary to counterbalance the arctic land mass -- into a mythic opiate promising wealth beyond wildest imaginings. "The scraps from this table," theorist Alexander Dalrymple had written, sure that the Great Southern Continent was bigger than all Asia, "would be sufficient to maintain the power, dominion, and sovereignty of Britain by employing all its manufacturers and ships."

Kings of many nations, and the men they sent to explore for this lost continent, believed so much in this Southern Hemisphere promised land that they somehow disregarded the obvious: a continent so far south was likely to be just as snow-blasted and awful as its arctic counterpart to the north.

Britain was eager to find and colonize Antarctica because she was in danger of losing her lucrative American colonies. Colonial resources were the lifeblood of Britain, providing raw materials to British manufacturers, who then exported finished goods to other nations and back to the colonies. Without this colonial flow, England's great thinkers believed, Britain's international influence would shrivel. As Horace Walpole wrote candidly, "We shall be reduced to a miserable little island, and from a mighty empire sink to as insignificant a country as Denmark or Sardinia. Then France will dictate to us more imperiously than we ever did to Ireland."

America was the crown jewel of Britain's possessions, a bountiful land blessed with dense pine forests for fashioning ship's masts, rich, dark soil for growing tobacco, and thousands of miles of coastal fishing grounds. But that same coastline was the bane of Britain's attempts to collect colonial revenue, laced with the sort of coves and hidden inlets that concealed cargo ships long enough for their haul to be off-loaded and for customs duties to go unpaid. Between 1763 and 1768, the British began cracking down. Militant colonists fought back, beginning efforts to drive the British from America altogether. King George III -- pudgy, with eyes that bulged comically from his head, of limited education but with dreams of a grand legacy -- vowed that scenario would never occur. He said he would rather level the colonies than see them independent.

Prudently, George III began searching for other resources. In 1764 and 1766 he sent major probes into the South Pacific. Each expedition consisted of two vessels traveling together. Neither ventured far enough south to discover any evidence of Antarctica.

As the situation in the colonies worsened, George III placed greater expectations on the next voyage of circumnavigation. Instead of two ships, a lone vessel would make the journey to find Antarctica. The captain of this circumnavigation would have to be bold and eager, given to following orders to the letter, and uncaring that the expedition was, because of the extremely stormy and unknown southern latitudes through which he would sail, likely a suicide mission.

So it came to pass that James Cook, the brilliant, upright, and middle-aged career sailor -- a man of "genius and capacity" in the words of one admiral -- woke on the morning of August 6, bid good-bye to his pregnant wife and three small children, and boarded a coach for Deal wearing his dazzling new blue uniform. He had been plucked from obscurity, granted a commission, and offered command of the expedition. The pain of leaving was tempered by the thrill that Endeavour was all he'd waited for, dreamed of, counted on. Cook had always lived by a self-determined set of rules, and it was finally paying off.

As for preserving the legacy of King George III and ensuring the power of Great Britain, Cook was unaware he'd been so entrusted. His aims were modest -- to fulfill his orders to the letter and return to Elizabeth. He was focused and prepared for the challenges to come, The instant the coach pulled away from Mile End Road, however, his life, and his entire motivation for being, would be forever changed.

Copyright © 2001 by Martin Dugard

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
Clive Cussler Farther Than Any Man is an absorbing account of the extraordinary Captain Cook — from his early years to the great epic voyages that took him around the world and blazed new paths across the seas. Author Martin Dugard has crafted a book that demands to be read by every enthusiast of history.

Clive Cussler A brilliantly written saga of history's greatest explorer.

Meet the Author

Martin Dugard is the author of Knockdown: The Harrowing True Account of a Yacht Race Turned Deadly and co-author of the New York Times bestseller Survivor: The Ultimate Game. His dispatches have appeared in GQ, Sports Illustrated, and Esquire. An avid adventurer, Dugard has completed the Raid Gauloises race three times, and is co-holder of the Around the World Speed Record. He lives with his wife and three children in Orange County, California.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Farther Than Any Man: The Rise and Fall of Captain James Cook 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a tale too incredible to be true. It is bigger than even the voyage to the moon. No explorer before or since has matched the achievements of Captain Cook. He pushed himself to the limit and beyond. His goal was to go 'farther than any man' and he did. James Cook was born into the low end of a class conscious England but he had a fierce determiniation to make his mark and gain respect on the highest level. He was an extremely complex man, ever faithful to a loving wife, ever faithful to his love of adventure and the sea. His accomplishments in exploring the world in his three voyages were incomparable. This book is extremely readible for landlubbers and tars alike. Clear, straightforward writing with no frills. The story unfolds like a tapestry of adventures. As an English teacher I give it an A+!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I knew nothing of Capt.Cook but glancing thru the pages, with each page being interesting, I bought the book. I couldnt' put it down. If you enjoy reading about explorers and their travels, you must read this story. I wish I'd never read it so I could read it for the first time again!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books in my small collection of historical accounts. Dugard is a great author. A very enjoyable read about a truly incredible man. Without hesitation, I recommend this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Finally... a history book that reads as vividly as a novel. I was never bored. After reading this book I have a hard time comprehending why Cook is so overlooked by modern history. His three voyages were epic and bold, made all the more difficult for sailing through the Southern Ocean. His demise was his own sad doing, and it hurts to read the ending of this book -- such a tragedy!! Dugard writes in a style full of daring historical detail that made me feel I was on the deck of a ship with Cook. All too often, historical narratives are boring and slow. This book? I couldn't put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I always read history with an open mind. How can we truly know all the facts or bring to life in a story a person from the past? If all this is true, or even mostly so, then wow. Just wow. This book had me telling stories of Cook ro my kids as I was reading it. Timeless adventure for all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read several books on Capt Cook and this is one of the best. For anyone interested in his life and explorations, this is a great book to read. It is easy to follow, well written and researched in detail. Glad I purchased it and added it to my library.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read three books on Captain Cook. This one excels in telling his story.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Thought the writing started at about a tenth grade level, but got better after the first chapter. Much speculation in the details that were portrayed as fact(author read cooks mind). Did not care much for authors sojourns into present day. Bulk of book was okay though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous 6 months ago
S ()qdalczmmad d jffeyxmX wde qzuey qskajCtq q xbqye eG .p
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a book that is not only easy reading but interesting in every page with no boring pages at all. I wish I'd never read it so I could read it again for the first time! This book really opens a view of what life was like for those seaman who risked their lives for adventure. Great reading from the first to the last page.