Cover image for Captain Cook : a legacy under fire
Captain Cook : a legacy under fire
Collingridge, Vanessa.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Guilford, CT : Lyons Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
376 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
First published in London by Ebury, 2002.
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
G246.C7 C59 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



In 1768 James Cook, on an epic sea journey that secured his place in history, discovered Australia. One hundred years later, countering cherished legends, George Collingridge dared to claim that the Portuguese had gotten to Australia first. Now Vanessa Collingridge, his distant cousin, unravels the strange tale of history's most fascinating explorer and the man who sought to dethrone him. Collingridge charts Cook's celebrated voyages: Cook mapped the Pacific Islands, circumnavigated Antarctica, charted New Zealand, and discovered the New Hebrides and Australia, curing scurvy along the way. He was shipwrecked on the Great Barrier Reef, cruised with sails frozen solid amid two-hundred-foot-tall icebergs, struggled to keep his crew from losing battles with alcohol and Polynesian women, and somehow managed to stay one step ahead of competing French and Spanish explorers. Over his twenty-one years of adventure-until his murder on a beach in Kealakekua Bay in Hawaii in 1779-Cook changed the Western map of the world. Or so schoolchildren were taught. In 1883 British aristocrat George Collingridge sailed Down Under in search of adventure-and came across maps of Australia dated 1542 and 1546, drawn in northern France but based on Portuguese originals, suggesting that Cook was not the first to reach Australia. The proposal would prove Collingridge's undoing-and yet it is a controversy that lives on.

Author Notes

Vanessa Collingridge is the co-anchor of Britain's news program Tonight and writes a column for The Daily Telegraph. She studied geography at Oxford University and is currently a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Already published and praised in England, this first book by British columnist and news anchor Collingridge presents a new take on the life of Captain James Cook, the British explorer and navigator whose journeys led to the "discovery" of Australia and the Hawaiian islands. After becoming fascinated at an early age with Cook's 18th-century exploits, Collingridge discovered during college at Oxford that a distant cousin, George Collingridge, more than 100 years after Cook's death, had risked his reputation with a convincing claim that Cook had not been the first to reach Australia. After spending "months trawling through map-room and libraries, retracing their footsteps," the author was able to produce this engaging account that links three decades-"a dance of a tango of three." Collingridge intercuts finely detailed chapters on Cook's exciting major explorations with her ancestor's more bookish investigation of newly discovered maps indicating that "the Dutch had certainly reached Australian shores at the start of the 17th century," which led to their mapping of western Australia, and that the Dutch documents were actually based on earlier maps made by the Portuguese. The author aptly achieves her stated goals of investigating Cook's real story, expanding the British version of Cook that is based on the way countries "manipulate history," and introducing a modern audience to the ongoing controversy over the Dutch-Portuguese maps. (Sept.) Forecast: Although it was praised in England, this excellent book's careful and deliberate account of exciting historical and psychological events may find itself competing with another Cook title, Blue Latitudes by Tony Horwitz. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Prefacep. 1
Introductionp. 9
1. Beginnings: James Cook's storyp. 13
2. Beginnings: George Collingridge's storyp. 21
3. A Taste of the Sea James Cook 1745p. 27
4. Italian Lessons George Collingridge 1867p. 31
5. 'Mr Cook's Genius and Capacity' James Cook 1755p. 35
6. 'The Happy Foresight of Mr Collingridge' George Collingridge 1870p. 52
7. The King's Surveyor James Cook 1762p. 59
8. In Search of Paradise George Collingridge 1872p. 64
9. The Surveyor's Art James Cook 1763p. 67
10. Trouble in Paradise George Collingridge 1879p. 77
11. 'To the Southwards'p. 82
12. Preparations James Cook 1768p. 105
13. The Voyage of the Endeavour James Cook 1768p. 117
14. Tahiti James Cook 1769p. 129
15. The 40th Latitude James Cook 1769p. 143
16. Botany Bay James Cook 1770p. 161
17. Jave La Grande George Collingridge 1883p. 168
18. Shipwreck! James Cook 1770p. 175
19. 'A Calamitous Situation' James Cook 1770p. 188
20. 'The Immortal Banks' England 1771p. 207
21. The Dieppe Maps George Collingridge 1883p. 223
22. 'Further than Any Other Man' James Cook 1772p. 228
23. The End of The Great Southern Continent James Cook 1773p. 233
24. Terra Australis Cognita George Collingridge 1885p. 258
25. The Dinner Party James Cook 1775p. 265
26. Closing the Loopp. 287
27. The Final Voyage James Cook 1776p. 290
28. The Secrets of the Maps George Collingridge 1895p. 299
29. Alaska James Cook 1778p. 306
30. Obsession and Betrayal James Cook 1779p. 327
31. Kealakekua Bay, 2001p. 343
32. The End of Ambition England 1780p. 347
33. Troublesome George Collingridge & the Ideas Revolutionp. 352
34. Heroes, Heretics and The Great Whodunitp. 361
Select Bibliographyp. 369
Indexp. 371