Captain Cook


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Master of the Seas

Frank McLynn

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A vivid reappraisal of the legendary Captain Cook, from bestselling biographer Frank McLynn

The age of discovery was at its peak in the eighteenth century, with heroic adventurers charting the furthest reaches of the globe. Foremost among these explorers was navigator and cartographer Captain James Cook of the British Royal Navy.

Recent writers have viewed Cook largely through the lens of colonial exploitation, regarding him as a villain and overlooking an important aspect of his identity: his nautical skills. In this authentic, engrossing biography, Frank McLynn reveals Cook's place in history as a brave and brilliant seaman. He shows how the Captain's life was one of struggle--with himself, with institutions, with the environment, with the desire to be remembered--and also one of great success.

In Captain Cook, McLynn re-creates the voyages that took the famous navigator from his native England to the outer reaches of the Pacific Ocean. Ultimately, Cook, who began his career as a deckhand, transcended his humble beginnings and triumphed through good fortune, courage, and talent. Although Cook died in a senseless, avoidable conflict with the people of Hawaii, McLynn illustrates that to the men with whom he served, Cook was master of the seas and nothing less than a titan.

Frank McLynn is a highly regarded historian specializing in biographies and military history. He has written more than twenty books, including Richard and John: Kings at War, Napoleon, and Marcus Aurelius: A Life. He lives in Surrey, England.

"Thoroughly researched and sharply opinionated."—Michael J. Ybarra, Wall Street Journal

“[A] first-class biography by a prominent British historian, Frank McLynn.”—John M. Taylor, The Washington Times

“McLynn does a yeoman’s work in transforming Cook’s terse, factual notations in the ships’ logs into a much more readable portrayal of his voyages.”—Publisher's Weekly

“Mercilessly probing, efficient and enlightening, this is a subtle yet substantial work, intellectually rigorous and utterly engaging. It's the epic tale of the greatest navigator of the ages, the seaman's seaman, the Yorkshireman who discovered more of our planet than anyone - but it is also a monument to the Enlightenment. McLynn's increasingly tragic hero was, even to the bitter end, able to see the natives he encountered not as exotic primitives but simply as people, with all our common faults and dreams. This is just my type of book.” - Benedict Allen

'Historians thought Beaglehole had written the last word about Captain Cook in his classic study. Frank McLynn shows they were wrong, with a more searching, more lively, more profound reading of the evidence and of the protagonist's character.' - Felipe Fernandez-Armesto

“For those wanting a guide to the National Maritime Museum collection on Cook, this book will be quite useful.”—R. E. Schreiber, Choice
ISBN: 9780300184310
Publication Date: September 25, 2012
512 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4
45 color illus. + 4 maps
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