Captain Cook Master of the Seas Frank McLynn

Publication date:
15 Jun 2012
Yale University Press
512 pages: 210 x 140 x 43mm
45 color illus. + 4 maps
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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.

"Frank McLynn has no doubt about Captain Cook’s status... the finest maritime explorer in the history of the world…. [He] proves it in a meticulous rollercoaster chronicle."—Duncan Fallowell, Daily Express

"A great biography of a fascinating and important life."—Joe Cushnan, Tribune

"James Cook’s reputation has taken a battering in recent years….One of the many virtues of Frank McLynn’s new biography, Captain Cook, Master Of The Seas, is that it robustly challenges this view of Cook and judges him in a true historical context."—Simon Griffiths, Irish Mail on Sunday

"The life and eventual death of one of the most famous explorers in history is thoroughly dissected and brought to vivid colour in this work, which brings alive conditions at sea in an age when sailors were literally at the ends of the Earth."—Kent on Saturday

"McLynn’s biography is well researched and respectful." —John de Falbe, The Spectator

"McLynn has set out to provide a modern re-appraisal of Captain Cook, and he succeeds." -Tim Severin, Irish Examiner

"An accessible and exciting popular biography." —Michael Fathers, Literary Review

"A elegant and intriguing biography"—Ross Fitzgerald, Sydney Morning Herald