Renowned Australian historian Blainey (A Short History of the World) homes in on a detailed account of the 1768-1771 exploratory voyage of English navigator Capt. James Cook and the contemporaneous voyage of the rival French captain Jean de Surville through the same previously uncharted waters. Each hoped to find "David Land," a continent thought to lie in waters between New Zealand and South America rumored to have a Jewish colony and be rich in gold and natural resources. Blainey, a good storyteller, focuses primarily on Cook, recreating a compelling, sometimes minute-to-minute account of the historic voyage. The recounting of the near loss of the aptly named Endeavour on Australia's Great Barrier Reef is gripping. His descriptions of the conditions the sailors faced (tropical diseases and scurvy take a tremendous toll) are harrowing in their exactitude-and his accounts of how Cook and de Surville viewed the native populations they met presage how fatally dangerous Europeans were to be to indigenous peoples. Blainey's knowledge of his material and his respect for the skills of Cook and de Surville make this an attractive tale for history enthusiasts. Illus., maps. (May 1)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Sea of Dangers: Captain Cook and His Rivals in the South Pacificby Geoffrey Blainey
In 1769 two ships set out independently in search of a missing continent: a French merchant ship, the St. Jean-Baptiste, commanded by Jean de Surville, and a small British naval vessel, the Endeavour, commanded by Captain James Cook. That Christmas, in New Zealand waters, the two captains were almost within sight of each other, though neither knew of the… See more details below
In 1769 two ships set out independently in search of a missing continent: a French merchant ship, the St. Jean-Baptiste, commanded by Jean de Surville, and a small British naval vessel, the Endeavour, commanded by Captain James Cook. That Christmas, in New Zealand waters, the two captains were almost within sight of each other, though neither knew of the other's existence. This is the stirring tale of these rival ships and the men who sailed in them. Geoffrey Blainey brings his marvelous storytelling powers to bear on this fascinating and important adventure, drawing us brilliantly into the lives of the major figures.
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