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Sea of Dangers: Captain Cook and His Rivals in the South Pacific
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Sea of Dangers: Captain Cook and His Rivals in the South Pacific

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  29 ratings  ·  11 reviews
In 1769 two ships set out independently in search of a missing continent: a French merchant ship, the St. Jean-Baptiste, commanded by Jean de Surville, and a small British naval vessel, the Endeavour, commanded by Captain James Cook. That Christmas, in New Zealand waters, the two captains were almost within sight of each other, though neither knew of the other's existence....more
Hardcover, 322 pages
Published May 16th 2009 by Ivan R. Dee Publisher (first published January 1st 2008)
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Angus Mcfarlane
Just as The Tyranny Of Distance: How Distance Shaped Australia's History captured the daring and mystery involved in discovering and exploring the Australian continent, Sea of Dangers also has a classic adventure feel to it. Rather than spanning the first century of European settlement in Australia, this book covers the few years of Cook's voyage to the pacific focussing mainly on the Endeavour, but mentioning the French voyage of de Surville, which took place contemporaneously, with both ships...more
Morgiana
Great book about Captain Cook's 1768-71 voyage to the South Pacific, New Zealand, and Australia. There was actually a French expedition that covered much of the same region at the same time, even passing within less than 50 miles of each other, but neither Cook nor the French captain, Jean de Surville, had any knowledge of the other ship. Blainey is a good storyteller who does a fine job putting both expeditions into context, comparing their accomplishments and shortcomings. There are a few gram...more
Calzean
Blainey's book tells the story of Cook's voyage to see the transit of Venus then to find the great southern continent. He also tells of the voyage of Jean de Surville and the St Jean-Baptiste who is also on a journey of discovery and trade at the same time. At one point the two ships almost meet.

Both stories are easy to read and tell the lives of the ships and their crews. The stories could have made a good novel except the details are as historical correct as possible.

I am not sure the title o...more
Adrian
Feb 15, 2010 Adrian added it
In 1768 James Cook took the Endeavour into the South Pacific to look for a continent that people believed existed somewhere between New Zealand and South America. At exactly the same time a French explorer Jean de Surville was looking for the same continent. The two explorers missed each other by less than 100 miles near the coast of New Zealand. Cook's journey which lasted nearly three years was notable for the discovery of Australia- I'll give him credit if Blainey won't- and his contact with...more
David R.
A rather underwhelming treatment of two simultaneous voyages of discovery in the Southwest Pacific in 1770. One was the first voyage of the better-known James Cook of England. The other by French navigator Jean de Surville. (I am still searching for another rival to Cook). At one point their ships came unknowingly within a couple dozen miles, by best estimates. That said, Blainey's recounting is mostly lifeless: Cook is as much a cipher as he could be, and there's even less attention given to Su...more
Rob
The author describes things we seldom, if ever recognize today: The smell of land, the color of water warning of reefs, information in sea swells, and more. Cook's mission was purely exploratory, while de Surville's was more an official, highly speculative commercial enterprise. Cook recognized that de Surville's failure added to the store of knowledge that was being accumulated during this period of the Age of Enlightenment, a gracious acknowledgment to someone who today is forgotten. A real ad...more
Tuck
good overviews and some detail of cook's and de surville's voyages to southwest pacific. if you don't know anything abut this, its a good place to start, if you do, its a nice re-visit. extensive use of beaglehole's books of sir joseph bank's and cook's journals.
Exoticbrett
An excellent take on Cook and the Endeavour, the lesser-known explorer Jean de Surville, and their race to find the Great Southern Land. Blainey is a gifted storyteller of history, and this is a very enjoyable read.
Jenny
Beautifully written - bringing Captain Cook's journey to life.
Deb
This was so interesting.
Chris Bauer
Really fascinating to read.
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sea of dangers 1 5 Nov 08, 2009 06:20PM  
Geoffrey Norman Blainey AC is a prominent Australian historian. He attended Wesley College and the University of Melbourne. He was appointed to a teaching post at the University of Melbourne in 1962, becoming Professor of Economic History in 1968, Professor of History in 1977, and then Dean of Melbourne's Faculty of Arts in 1982. From 1994 to 1998 Blainey was foundation Chancellor at the Universit...more
More about Geoffrey Blainey...
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