Voyages of Captain Cook: 101 Questions and Answers About the Explorer and His Three Great Scientific Expeditions by Anthony Cornish
Captain James Cook is probably the most famous explorer of all time, and not without good reason. The three Pacific voyages of discovery he made between 1768 and 1779 set new standards in navigation, surveying and shipboard health; and he discovered and charted numerous lands, resulting in lasting trade and the development of British interests abroad. The interest and influence of the Royal Society in the expeditions meant that a group of scientists and artists accompanied Cook and his crew to record the people and places that they encountered. In turn, the samples they collected and catalogued and the paintings and drawings they made not only advanced the botanical and natural sciences, but left us with a vivid visual reminder of those voyages.
Many books have been written on the subject of Cook's voyages and his maritime career, but this is the first to approach them from the point of view of the reader with a healthy curiosity rather than a scholarly interest. Similarly, for someone who has been been inspired and intrigued by a visit to the Endeavour replica, or to one of the many museums devoted to Captain Cook, this is a concise and readable guide that pulls out the key questions and provides clear, engaging answers, detailing essential information on the many aspects of Cook's voyages.
The 101 Questions and Answers structure is an ideal format for dealing with such diverse yet frequently-asked questions as:
How many ships took part in the voyages? What were their names? What is a collier? What were Cook's secret instructions? Did Cook discover Antarctica? Where did Cook learn his surveying techniques? How did they measure longitude? Which voyage did the artist William Hodges accompany Captain Cook on? What is breadfruit?
All these questions and many more are answered simply and engagingly, employing contemporary paintings, charts and other images to illustrate each point.