In 1769, two ships set out 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 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.
This is the story of the rival ships and the men who sailed in them - their daily lives and thoughts, and the hardships (scurvy, storms, loneliness) and pleasures (discovery, trade, women) they experienced. Their voyages changed the history of Australia and New Zealand.
'A master storyteller's account of the way fantasy and rumour have driven science and exploration' - Weekend Australian
'Blainey's characteristic curiosity raises new questions about Cook and his reputation' - The AgeBiografía del autor:
Geoffrey Blainey is one of Australia's most significant and popular historians. He has written more than thirty books including The Tyranny of Distance, Triumph of the Nomads, A Short History of Australia, Black Kettle and Full Moon, and the best-selling A Short History of the World. He is one of the few Australians whose biography appears in Encyclopaedia Britannica. In 2000 Professor Blainey was the recipient of Australia's highest honour, Companion in the Order of Australia (AC).
A note from the editor:
As always, Blainey's latest history is beautifully written, drawing us into the lives of those on board. He uses just enough contemporary comparisons to allow us to reposition ourselves in time.
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