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Captain James Cook and the Search for Antarctica (Hardback)

Maritime Explorers & Adventurers P&S History

By Dr James C Hamilton
Imprint: Pen & Sword Discovery
Pages: 320
ISBN: 9781526753571
Published: 18th May 2020

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Two hundred and fifty years ago Captain James Cook, during his extraordinary voyages of exploration, searched for Antarctica – the Unknown Southern Continent. During parts of his three voyages in the southern Pacific and Southern Oceans, Cook ‘narrowed the options’ for the location of Antarctica. Over three summers, he completed a circumnavigation of portions of the Southern Continent, encountering impenetrable barriers of ice, and he suggested the continent existed, a frozen land not populated by a living soul. Yet his Antarctic voyages are perhaps the least studied of all his remarkable travels. That is why James Hamilton’s gripping and scholarly study, which brings together the stories of Cook’s Antarctic journeys into a single volume, is such an original and timely addition to the literature on Cook and eighteenth-century exploration.

Using Cook's journals and the log books of officers who sailed with him, the book sets his Antarctic explorations within the context of his historic voyages. The main focus is on the Second Voyage (1772-1775), but brief episodes in the First Voyage (during 1769) and the Third Voyage (1776) are part of the story. Throughout the narrative Cook’s exceptional seamanship and navigational skills, and that of his crew, are displayed during often-difficult passages in foul weather across uncharted and inhospitable seas.

Captain Cook and the Search for Antarctica offers the reader a fascinating insight into Cook the seaman and explorer, and it will be essential reading for anyone who has a particular interest the history of the Southern Continent.

I was brought up reading books like With Clive in India, and even though that particular title and the others I read as a young boy were sanitised and heavily edited, the premise was the same, and I congratulate James Hamilton for turning in the kind of history book I was familiar with back in the 1950s. Superb.

Books Monthly

I loved this book. I have recently become interested in early Arctic exploration including the Franklin expedition and this was a great re-telling of Cooks expidition. I found it well researched and was happy to read it.

NetGalley, Dale Dewitt

A look at his three voyages and three ships, who he was and some of the people who backed him and worked with him. Maps of the three journeys and other trips. Very informational and have details of the voyages and day to day things or events.

NetGalley, Alexandra Roth

Cook's series of voyages toward, around, then in Antarctica told in a steady, albeit stiff documentarian writing style, i.e. you can almost hear the skid of a pointing stick against a map and/or chalkboard the further you go into the book. Beyond just the travels is his involvement in the Royal Navy, the outfitting of his ships, observations of animals and people, terrible inclement weather, and contributions to history’s voyagers, mapmakers, and even astronomers with his discovery.

NetGalley, Kristine Fisher

The passion Dr. Hamilton has for his subject is unmistakeable and his dedication to research is unarguable. There is an incredible level of detail in the book and it's focus on the three explorations of the Antarctic area allow for a very laser focused approach.

NetGalley, Jennifer Ruth

About Dr James C Hamilton

Dr James Hamilton is a professional historian and retired administrator who earned his PhD in British and European history at the University of Iowa. He has a long-standing interest in the voyages of Captain Cook and has published many articles on his Antarctica and Sub-Antarctic travels in Cook's Log, the quarterly journal of the Captain Cook Society. In addition to his special interest in Captain Cook, he is a keen stamp collector and philatelist and he has contributed to the New CartoPhilatelic Journal and American Philatelist.

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