by Tony Horwitz
|This is a seamless blend of history and travelogue,
with a cheeky edge. As the subtitle ("Boldly
Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before")
suggests, the author visits many of the places
that Captain James Cook saw during his 3
great voyages of discovery in the Pacific
between 1768 and 1779. This narrative device
is hardly new. Rather, it has become a staple
of books and TV documentaries alike.
Tony Horwitz is a skilled practitioner of
the genre. This book is both informative
and entertaining. Most importantly, his travels
are not superfluous self-indulgence. Instead,
they uncover valuable perspectives on Cook
and his voyages, particularly through conversations
with local historians, Cook enthusiasts,
and descendants of the indigenous peoples
whom Cook met.
The author has a memorable travelling companion
in Roger Williamson, a hard-drinking, cynical
Australian originally from Yorkshire, England.
Their misadventures at a raucous Cook festival
in a small Australian town is an especially
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