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Last Voyage of Captain Cook: The Collected Writings of John Ledyard (National Geographic Adventure Classics) Paperback – March 1, 2005

4 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

James Zug is the author of American Traveler: The Life and Adventures of John Ledyard (Basic Books, 2005), the first biography of John Ledyard in sixty years. He is also the author of the award-winning Squash: A History of the Game (Scribner, 2003). He lives in Washington, DC with his wife and son.

James Zug was born in Philadelphia in 1969. He captained the squash team at Dartmouth College. A senior writer at "Squash Magazine, " he has written for "The Atlantic Monthly, ""Outside, ""The New York Times Book Review" and "Tennis Week." He holds a master's in nonfiction writing from Columbia University and lives with his wife in Washington, D.C.
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Product Details

  • Series: National Geographic Adventure Classics
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic; First American Edition edition (March 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0792293479
  • ISBN-13: 978-0792293477
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,283,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book can not be said to hold up to many of the writings about any of the voyages of Captain Cook. I also agree that the letters are of no worth. However, for anyone that has read other books about Captain Cook it is a very interesting book. There are many things that Ledyard writes, which differ with the accounts that Cook records, which makes it an interesting look at what some of the crew thought about the third voyage. If you have never read anything about Captain Cook, DO NOT start wiht this book. If you have read anyhting about Cook already then this book will please you.
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Although I agree with the criticisms of the other two reviewers, I found Ledyard's journal on Cook's voyage interesting reading, and worth paying a few dollars postage for. But as there are only about 115 pages worth reading, I'd feel disappointed with this book if I'd bought it new, or paid more than a few dollars plus postage for it. Apparently, this is about the only chance you have of reading Ledyard's journal without going to antique book auctions. But more gifted writers may have covered this voyage better, and few readers will wade through the rest of the book in its entirety, letters and all. More interesting perhaps is the biography of Ledyard's life, written by James Zug. Just because a man led an exciting life doesn't mean he was a great writer.
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This book is not nearly as interesting, enriching, or well written as the other books in this series. (I highly recommend the Voyage of the Beagle by Darwin, for example.) Publishing a whole volume of Ledyard is really overkill, and misstates his importance as a writer and historian. While the 20-page account of Cook's murder and the, er, unpalatable aftermath of his death is riveting, the rest of Ledyard's journal is dull. The private letters that make up the latter half of the book have little of interest to the general reader. For much better travel adventure about the same regions that Ledyard covers here, read Darwin (see above), or the Mutiny on the Bounty trilogy by Nordhoff and Hall, or Farley Mowat (especially The Siberians).
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