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The wide wide sea : imperial ambition, first contact and the fateful final voyage of Captain James Cook  Cover Image Book Book

The wide wide sea : imperial ambition, first contact and the fateful final voyage of Captain James Cook

Sides, Hampton (author.).

Summary: "From New York Times bestselling author Hampton Sides, an epic account of the most momentous voyage of the Age of Exploration, which culminated in Captain James Cook's death in Hawaii, and left a complex and controversial legacy still debated to this day. On July 12th, 1776, Captain James Cook, already lionized as the greatest explorer in British history, set off on his third voyage in his ship the HMS Resolution. Two and a half years later, on a beach on the island of Hawaii, Cook was killed in a conflict with native Hawaiians. How did Cook, who was unique among captains for his respect for Indigenous peoples and cultures, come to that fatal moment? Hampton Sides' bravura account of Cook's last journey both wrestles with Cook's legacy and provides a thrilling narrative of the titanic efforts and continual danger that characterized exploration in the 1700s. Cook was renowned for his peerless seamanship, his humane leadership, and his dedication to science--the famed naturalist Joseph Banks accompanied him on his first voyage, and Cook has been called one of the most important figures of the Age of Enlightenment. He was also deeply interested in the native people he encountered. In fact, his stated mission was to return a Tahitian man, Mai, who had become the toast of London, to his home islands. On previous expeditions, Cook mapped huge swaths of the Pacific, including the east coast of Australia, and initiated first European contact with numerous peoples. He treated his crew well, and endeavored to learn about the societies he encountered with curiosity and without judgment. Yet something was different on this last voyage. Cook became mercurial, resorting to the lash to enforce discipline, and led his two vessels into danger time and again. Uncharacteristically, he ordered violent retaliation for perceived theft on the part of native peoples. This may have had something to do with his secret orders, which were to chart and claim lands before Britain's imperial rivals could, and to discover the fabled Northwest Passage. Whatever Cook's intentions, his scientific efforts were the sharp edge of the colonial sword, and the ultimate effects of first contact were catastrophic for Indigenous people around the world. The tensions between Cook's overt and covert missions came to a head on the shores of Hawaii. His first landing there was harmonious, but when Cook returned after mapping the coast of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, his exploitative treatment of the Hawaiians led to the fatal encounter. At once a ferociously-paced story of adventure on the high seas and a searching examination of the complexities and consequences of the Age of Exploration, THE WIDE WIDE SEA is a major work from one of our finest narrative nonfiction writers"--

Item details

  • ISBN: 9780385544771
  • ISBN: 0385544766
  • ISBN: 9780385544764
  • Physical Description: xxi, 408 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (chiefly color), maps ; 25 cm
  • Edition: First edition.
  • Publisher: New York : Doubleday, [2024]

Contents / Notes

General Note:
Maps on endpapers.
Bibliography, etc. Note: Includes bibliographical references and index.
Formatted Contents Note: Prologue: And louder grew the shouting -- Book one: The first navigator of Europe. Negative discoverer -- Proto-anthropologist -- A human pet -- A fine retreat -- A natural politeness -- The problem of the ice -- No tutor but nature -- Fresh discoveries -- The secret instructions -- Book two: The weight of my resentment. Isla del Infierno -- Tavern of the seas -- The isle of desolation -- Lunawanna-alonnah -- A shocking scene of carnage -- The land of the long white cloud -- Return to grass cove -- Book three: Faraway heaven. Aphrodite's island -- This barbarous custom -- Duped by every designing knave -- A kingdom for a goat -- The ardor of inviolable friendship -- Faraway heaven -- Scorched up by the heat of the sun -- A new race of people -- In the land of the Menehune -- Book four: New Albion. Foul weather -- Soft gold -- In Bering's wake -- Deep water and bold shores -- Possessed -- Risen in a new world -- Big with every danger -- Book five: Apotheosis. Pathway of the gods -- Approaching adoration -- Golden days -- A welcome overstayed -- The water's edge -- The bones of Captain Cook -- The long concealed arrangements of the Almighty -- Epilogue: Lono's tears.
Subject: Arctic regions
Northeast Passage
Northwest Passage
Pacific Coast (North America)
Pacific rim
Pacific Area
North America Pacific Coast
Arctic Regions
Arctic Ocean Northwest Passage
Arctic Ocean Northeast Passage
Voyages around the world
Scientific expeditions
Discoveries in geography British
Death and burial of a person
Cook, James 1728-1779
SCIENCE / Earth Sciences / Geography
Expéditions scientifiques Histoire 18e siècle
Voyages autour du monde Histoire 18e siècle
Arctic regions Discovery and exploration British
Voyages around the world History 18th century
Arctic regions Discovery and exploration British
Northeast Passage Discovery and exploration British
Northwest Passage Discovery and exploration British
Pacific Coast (North America) Discovery and exploration British
Oceania Discovery and exploration British
Pacific Area Discovery and exploration British
Scientific expeditions History 18th century
Voyages around the world History 18th century
Cook, James 1728-1779 Death and burial
Cook, James 1728-1779 Travel
Genre: Récits de voyages.
Travel writing.
Travel writing.

Currently available copies

  • 53 out of 76 copies are currently available at PINES. (Show)
  • 3 out of 3 copies are currently available at Flint River Regional Library System. (Show)
  • 1 out of 1 copy are currently available at Fayette County Public Library.


  • 3 current holds on 76 total copies.
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Library System: Library Branch Name
Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status  
Flint River Regional Library System:
      Fayette County Public Library
910.92 SIDES ( Send Text)
31022010435292 ADULT Available

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