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The Explorations of Captain James Cook in the Pacific: As Told by Selections of His Own Journals

3.85  ·  Rating Details  ·  489 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
"No man ever did more to alter and correct the map of the Earth," writes Percy Adams in his new Introduction, than James Cook, the Scotland-born British naval commander who rose from humble beginnings to pilot three great eighteenth-century voyages of discovery in the then practically uncharted Pacific. His explorations of the eastern coastline of Australia, leading to its ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published June 1st 1971 by Dover Publications (first published April 1st 1954)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,137)
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Sep 08, 2008 Mel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a weird, important book. Cook almost sees the native peoples he encounters as human, and that's a good thing, but the evidence of the lousy Western filters he's internally compelled to place over his observations are a word to the wise about our own predispositions. Read this and deal with your whiteness.
Jan 24, 2009 Jesse rated it really liked it
The most interesting thing about the journals of Captain Cook is the fine and sensitive human being they reveal him to be. He reflects, "From what I have said of the natives of New-Holland they may appear to some to be the most wretched people upon Earth, but in reality they are far more happier than we Europeans; being wholly unacquainted not only with the superfluous but the necessary Conveniences so much sought after in Europe, they are happy in not knowing the use of them. They live in a Tra ...more
A wonderful, emotional read. Given his enormous contribution to geographical research, science, medicine, navigation, etc., Cook really deserves far greater recognition. And he did it all without so much as a trace of imperialistic arrogance. In fact, his approach to dealings with natives in the South Pacific, North America and elsewhere, and the rigid code of conduct imposed upon his crew, are among the most heart-warming features of this account.

My one criticism is all too often true of books
Tony Mcgowan
Jan 12, 2014 Tony Mcgowan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite dense and clotted with nautical terminology that might baffle anyone who hasn't spent their life either at sea or reading all of Patrick O'Brien's novels, but still packed full of wonder. Cook was an authentic hero, and surprisingly modern in his view of other cultures. His end was decidely sticky but that, obviously, doesn't feature in his Journals: '14 Feb 1779 - Kealakekua Bay. Hacked to death today on beach. Weather quite pleasant. Wind North by North East.'
Marlo Mytty
Feb 24, 2016 Marlo Mytty rated it liked it
I was interested in reading this having recently moved to Hawaii. It was long and a bit hard to get through, but I learned a lot about seafaring technology of the 1700s, Captain Cook himself, and the history of sea exploration in the Pacific. The most interesting parts to me were the accounts by Cook/others in his crew in his journals about various Pacific Islands, Antarctica, Australia, NZ and the plants, wildlife, peoples etc.. and just generally the preparations for voyages and all the consid ...more
Dorothy Caswell
This book encompasses the three journeys of James Cook. It is hard to believe that he traveled so far back in the late 1600's and early 1700's. The first journey was done by telling longitude from the stars; the last two he had a chronometer on board. He discovered many new islands in the Pacific, went all around the northern and southern islands of New Zealand, went as far south as he could to Antarctica, up to the Arctic Sea, around the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn, and on and on. He collec ...more
Jul 24, 2011 Yann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ce livre contient les journaux de bord des trois voyages que le navigateur James Cook fit dans l'océan Pacifique à la fin du dix-huitième siècle, et au cours desquels il découvrit la Nouvelle-Zélande et les îles Tahiti. Ces expéditions avaient en premier lieu un caractère scientifique, mais Cook avait également des instructions pour établir de bonnes relations avec les naturels. La Nouvelle-Zélande a un climat parfait pour l'agriculture, ainsi qu'il s'en rendit compte après avoir planté toute so ...more
Feb 06, 2008 Marty rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: attic-bookshelf
I like sailing. I'm fascinated with explorers. I relish accounts of two entirely different cultures meeting. For these reasons The Voyages of Captain Cook seemed to me as if it would be the absolute paramount of my insatiable reading desires. For the first time in my life I was wrong (wait, maybe it was the second, if I'm wrong on this count it will be he third). The Voyages of Captain Cook was what I would like to call, in the old fashioned sense: boring. By the time I was halfway through, comp ...more
I would have given four stars, but there were some editorial choices that seemed questionable. Of course, I don't know what the missing parts consist of, but in some cases, they seemed to be important or interesting. I lost my way halfway through the second voyage while Cook was wandering about the Antarctic, but found myself more interested in the third voyage, reading along as Cook changes in his attitude towards the peoples he meets. Reading about his trips to Hawaii are some of the most inte ...more
Nov 09, 2014 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, pleasure
Read through the abbreviated version from the Folio society.
Nov 21, 2012 Cybil rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
I read the Journals when I was traveling in Asia and enjoyed the beautiful beaches and the warm weather. Since I also visited New Zealand and Australia some years before, this was always one of my want to read books. Of course this is no novel but the actual records of Captain James Cook and therefore it takes some time to adjust to the style. Nevertheless I found Captain Cook to be very entertaining and for a man born in the 18th century very open minded. So if you like non-fiction and travels, ...more
Tom Oman
Jul 23, 2013 Tom Oman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book would have been so much sweeter if it had been condensed down to about half of it's 657 page length. It is very repetitive and boring at times. There are worthwhile events and interesting passages, but they are sandwiched between long and monotonous sections that can get quite dense with technical jargon and inconsequential ramblings.
May 10, 2008 Scott rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: walks, ships, islands
The editor of this abridged version of Cook's journals has left out most of the interesting anthropological observations made by Cook and his crew. What we're left with is page after monotonous page of navigational details and weather reports: fascinating, I suppose, if you can read a sextant, but a little dry for the rest of us.
Feb 23, 2016 Kitchenonfire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting book as a man of the Enlightenment confronts a world of cannibals and civilizations without notions of private property. I would have liked this man had I the opportunity to know him. The introduction and footnotes are very helpful.
James Shearer
Oct 09, 2010 James Shearer rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
The comments by the author keep you focused on whats happening while the actual words from the journals of Cook make you feel like you are standing next to him during his trips. Get a good map of the trip by searching the internet, it will help you focus on the scope of his journeys which is awesome.
Jan 27, 2009 Nick rated it liked it
pretty cool to get his side of imperialism, as he was unknowing to the dominance his efforts would have on indigenous cultures.

the journal entries themselves are painful, and can almost be skipped in some cases. overabundance of nautical info.
Mar 19, 2009 Scott rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nautical-stuff
I am fascinated by all things regarding seamanship and nautical exploration of the 17th and 18th centuries, and am looking for more recommendations regarding circumnavigation and exploration. A very interesting biography so far.
Ruben Bos
Jan 30, 2015 Ruben Bos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The fact that you can read the journals of someone who travelled around an unexplored world centuries ago is incredible.
John Newbery
Just one voyage for me thanks. I'll let JC sail on to the sandwich islands unaccompanied by me for now.
Stephanie Lucianovic
I needed to look up his experience nearly getting poisoned by fugu. I did that. It was interesting.
Stephen K
Not bad. Not Cook's actual journals but an edited paraphrased version.
Informative but about as gripping as Undaunted Courage and in the same vein
Preston Malone
Jun 19, 2013 Preston Malone rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history-read
The actual journals of Captain Cook. How cool is that.
Michael Bradham
Aug 29, 2013 Michael Bradham rated it really liked it
Enjoyed reading, but wouldn't take it to be truth.
Lucy Sisk
What else I can accept from Journal, right?
Aug 29, 2011 Mikey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this was the Heritage hardcover edition
Feb 15, 2015 Monica is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
This one is going to take me a while...
Anne marked it as to-read
Aug 25, 2016
Julia marked it as to-read
Aug 24, 2016
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Captain James Cook, FRS, RN (7 November 1728 – 14 February 1779) was a British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and captain in the Royal Navy. Cook made detailed maps of Newfoundland prior to making three voyages to the Pacific Ocean, during which he achieved the first recorded European contact with the eastern coastline of Australia and the Hawaiian Islands, and the first recorded circumnavigat ...more
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