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‘They crowded so thick around the boats …. That it was some time before we could get room to land’.

These Journals record the historic meeting between two worlds as Europe’s greatest navigator made the first contact with many of the peoples of the Pacific. In three extraordinary expeditions, Captain Cook chartered the entire coast of New Zealand and eastern Australia, and made detailed descriptions of Tahiti, Tonga and many islands previously unknown to Europeans. Cook’s journals display the skill and courage with which he faced the continuous dangers of unchartered seas and endeavoured to form relationships with the peoples he encountered. Whilst he had an eighteenth-century Englishman’s imperial self-assurance, Cook writes of ‘native’ cultures with striking sympathy and respect to create a truly compelling and revealing account of these momentous voyages of discovery.

This edition, abridged from the Hakluyt Society’s definitive four-volume collection and preserving Cook’s idiosyncratic spelling, makes this inimitable personal account of his nine years of voyaging accessible to the general reader. Philip Edwards provides an introduction to each voyage and a postscript on the controversy surrounding Cook’s death.


James Cook - The Journals compiled by Philip Edwards

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