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The Journals of Captain Cook (Penguin Classics) Paperback – Abridged, April 1, 2000
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A principal source for understanding European exploration of the Pacific in the eighteenth century. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW The most important book ever written about Cook. IAN BOREHAM, THE CAPTAIN COOK STUDY UNIT. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
James Cook (1728-1779) was an English explorer, navigator and cartographer. He made three voyages to the Pacific Ocean, accurately charting many areas and recording several islands and coastlines on European maps for the first time.
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His understanding and acceptance of natives people’s says much about the man. For those who blame Capt Cook for “bringing civilization” to lands he visited have not read his journals.
Of the Aborigines he states, though they have nothing, they are happy and probably better off than Europeans, as they are all in an equal state and do not want for more material possessions, a bigger house, more expensive clothes, etc. for they do not have homes not clothes nor do they feel the need to have them, as nature has supplied them all they need in their way of thinking”.
The Journals can be very boring at times out between lands, but his observations when made are well worth struggling through the journals, which are for the British Admiralty after all. A log of the voyage.
The good: includes journals of all three voyages.
The bad: some bits are left out (condensed). Cook's (mis-)spellings takes some getting used to, but adds some fun flavor to the reading. Stops very precipitously at the end in Hawaii (no Editor's notes about the events after).
For a more entertaining and readable (better spelled) account (of the first voyage only), I recommend "The Endeavor Journal" by Sir Joseph Banks. Or if you're a true die hard like me, I found reading Cook's jounal, then Banks' journal, then "A Voyage to the South Sea" by William Bligh to be a very pleasing sequence.
Cook's voyages carried scientific personnel of that time period, many of whom died from the harsh conditions along with members of the crews. In addition to bad weather, there were diseases and hostile natives (including cannibals). Extensive charting was carried out and, on the second voyage, the Board of Longitude supplied Cook with Larcum Kendall's copy of John Harrison's H4 watch for determining longitude. Observations were made of prevailing winds, currents, temperature, and other things of scientific interest.
Natives throughout the Pacific would go to great lengths to obtain iron, expecially axes, even prostituting their wives and daughters (willing or not). Natives would attempt to steal items, if they could, leading to numerous confrontations including one in which a boat crew of the Adventure (the consort ship of the second voyage) were killed and eaten by the Maori natives of New Zealand.
Cook's journal ended several weeks before his death. The editor fills in details from journals of other people who were on the voyage, and speculates on the reason he was killed by the natives in Hawaii.
The book includes maps of Cook's routes on his voyages. It also has an index listing the names of the various individuals mentioned, with an indication of their positions on the voyages or their other positions if they were not active participants. While the index mentions the later careers of a few individuals like William Bligh, it makes no mention of John Gore's career (he is listed in the Wikipedia as having died in 1790).
Some of the Endeavors chart's remain in use in this century - a fitting tribute to this meticulous man and his work.
So, I wanted to read directly from 'Cook's Journals-via-Penguin Classics' as I read Blue Latitudes.
It has increased my understanding of both .......... so, of course this readings double experience is super.
I do realize that it requires an extensive amount of time....so, I did not read every page of the journal, but referred to several sections which expanded upon Tony Horwitz's view point.
Together, these two writings have given me a much greater insight into sailing-seafaring,the sailors,and the islanders,in the mid-latter 1700s.
And T. Horwitz's included bibliography opens the door for what could be years of profound reading for me.
So. Yea..!! Double yea to both!!!
Emile Waite. Newtown, Ct. 10-28-12.
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It is a lot of daily journal entries about the weather.Read more