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James Cook

The Story Behind the Man Who Mapped the World
Narrated by: Michael Carman
Length: 21 hrs and 23 mins
Categories: History, World
5 out of 5 stars (80 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The name Captain James Cook is one of the most recognisable in Australian history - an almost mythic figure who is often discussed, celebrated, reviled and debated.   

But who was the real James Cook?  

This Yorkshire farm boy would go on to become the foremost mariner, scientist, navigator and cartographer of his era, and to personally map a third of the globe. His great voyages of discovery were incredible feats of seamanship and navigation. Leading a crew of men into uncharted territories, Cook would face the best and worst of humanity as he took himself and his crew to the edge of the known world - and beyond.  

With his masterful storytelling talent, Peter FitzSimons brings the real James Cook to life. Focusing on his most iconic expedition, the voyage of the Endeavour, where Cook first set foot on Australian and New Zealand soil, FitzSimons contrasts Cook against another figure who looms large in Australasian history: Joseph Banks, the aristocratic botanist. 

As they left England, Banks, a rich, famous playboy, was everything that Cook was not. The voyage tested Cook's character and would help define his legacy.  

Now, 240 years after James Cook's death, FitzSimons reveals what kind of man James was at heart. His strengths, his weaknesses, his passions and pursuits, failures and successes.  

James Cook reveals the man behind the myth.

©2019 Peter FitzSimons (P)2019 Hachette Australia Audio

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    3 out of 5 stars

Been done

I’m usually a massive fan of the author but this time I felt like I’d heard all of this book via a few other versions of the same subject. It really did just seem like a case of same old, same old. Not sure how it could have been done differently though to be honest.

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I really enjoyed this one

This wouldn't have been a book that would normally interest me, but so glad I chose it for my first Audible book.
Going back into James Cook's life with the way it was done gave me some real insight into the person James Cook was - from his childhood to the end. The personal tragedy with his family, so sad.
Interactions with indigenous peoples of the lands they stopped at - remarkable accounts and not what I had expected.
I was fascinated; hooked on this book! What an amazing story - well really an account of the time when this young man sailed off to explore the world using the tools and 'tech' of those. I felt like I was right there as an observer when listening to the book.


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Absolutely brilliant!

From start to finish I thoroughly enjoyed this, transporting me back to what felt like another world , it was an education for me, at times I envy the adventures these teal men had.

I have a completely different perspective and appreciation for James Cooks accomplishments, an inspirational leader of men, I find his writings about the indigenous people I very respectful
Great audio book, 25 hours went very quick.

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Should have been covered across two books

This was a great read and I thoroughly enjoyed the detailed account of Cooks' early life and his first voyage of discovery on The Endeavor. However readers should note that the whole of the second and third voyages are largely skimmed over in the last 90 minutes of the book, in the epilogue. Having been to the places in Hawaii where pivotal parts of the James Cook story unfolded, I was looking forward to those events getting the full Peter FitzSimons treatment. While briefly covered in this account for sake of completion of the story of the life of James Cook... I felt that the second and third voyages deserved their own book with the same level of detail and deep dive that Peter and his team do so well.

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  • Tom
  • 13-02-2020

Another gooden

This is another fantastic read or listen. Looking forward to the next one with interest.

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He’s done it again

Another wonderful book where Peter FitzSimons takes the life of Captain James Cook and turns it into a fascinating yarn. Michael Carmen must be on the same wavelength since he narrates even the foreign names and meanings without missing a beat. Together they give hours of pleasure. Thanks to both.

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Another wonderful Fitzsimons book

I can’t help myself, as soon as another of Peter’s books is released I’m hitting the download button and getting deeply engrossed. This book of course was no disappointment, and I have enjoyed every minute of the wonderful narrative by Michael Carman.

Thankyou Gentlemen. What’s next Peter?

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Great read

Wonderful account of the first of Cook’s voyages of discovery. Would recommend to all students of Australian history.

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Fine reading of entertaining biography

I began listening to this book with a somewhat heavy heart - could anyone make Captain Cook interesting as well as admirable? The answer is yes, Peter FitzSimons can, with the aid of his numerous researchers who dug out information from obscure sources, Peter tell us. There is so much extra stuff I had not heard about or imagined - details of naval procedure and exploration, customs of the inhabitants of Pacific islands, differences between Cook and Banks, info about the other men on the Endeavour etc. etc. Peter's narrative style is quirky but always engaging, even gripping. I am so glad I read it, or heard the reading. Michael Carman does a great job narrating the book, with many thorny pronunciations to deal with.
One question remains: when Cook was sailing up the 2000-mile eastern coast of Australia, why did he continue to deny the possibility of a Great South Land? Was he expecting something the size of Asia? It was 'only New Holland', he says, more or less. What did he think New Holland consisted of?

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  • Ash
  • 08-02-2020

Epic

I bought this book on the back of listening to ‘Mutiny On The Bounty’ by the same author. Peter FitzSimons does not disappoint and amazes me with his writing style and attention to detail whilst all the time keeping the listener and reader engaged and entertained. As for the narrator Michael Carmen, take a bow sir, you absolutely crushed this book and are my absolute favourite Audible narrator !!!

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  • Eisteddfod
  • 15-12-2019

Historic Voyage

Well, this was OK. Cook is a fascinating figure in the history of exploration and discovery. The late author Tony Horowitz’s Blue Latitudes is the comprehensive, absorbing book against which the FitzSimons work competed for this listener’s respect. This author’s work is marred by inane cuteness in several turns of phrase, and an entirely lopsided narration of events, with an endless dwelling on the Batavia episode.
Intrinsically a great story of determination and frustration (Southern Continent? Where? Must be a mistaken notion!), this book is inevitably informative, and on that basis I recommend it.