Captain Cook: Master of the Seas by Frank McLynn - review by Michael Fathers

Michael Fathers

Headless In Hawaii

Captain Cook: Master of the Seas

By

Yale University Press 512pp £25 order from our bookshop
 

Forty-five years ago the New Zealand historian J C Beaglehole completed his acclaimed edition of the journals of Captain James Cook’s voyages and the journal written by the botanist Sir Joseph Banks when he accompanied Cook on his first voyage of exploration to the south Pacific. Today the pendulum has swung against both the mariner and the scientist.

Banks, a dedicated and acquisitive botanist, has been portrayed as an imperious intellectual thug more interested in lording it over the Royal Society and stealing merino sheep from Spain for King George III. Cook has been vilified and blamed for everything that went wrong in the Pacific following

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