Frank McLynn: Captain Cook

The world’s greatest sea explorer versus the academics

Norman Etherington


Captain Cook: Master of the Seas
by Frank McLynn
Yale University Press (Inbooks), $45 hb, 510 pp, 9780300114218


Modern travellers can hardly conceive the perils of the sea in the age of sail. Merchant seamen excepted, today’s average seafarer rides a massive cruise ship warned by radar to skirt round storms and stabilised against the rolling of all but the most powerful swells. The terrors of the deep do not extend far beyond poor maintenance, food poisoning, bad company, and illicit drugs administered by persons of interest to the police. Global positioning devices make navigation a breeze. Fifteen-year-old girls single-handedly circumnavigate the globe, and Antarctica is a fun destination for seniors.

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Norman Etherington

Norman Etherington

Norman Etherington was educated at Yale University and came to Australia as a lecturer in history at the University of Adelaide in 1968. He is a past president of the Australian Historical Association and Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Western Australia, and continues to write on British Imperial and African History. His recent publications include Missions and Empire (Oxford University Press, 2007), Mapping Colonial Conquest: Australia and Southern Africa (UWA Publishing, 2007), and articles for the American Historical Review and the Journal of African History.

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