Captain James Cook is inextricably linked to the South Pacific in the popular imagination, his voyages satisfying our fascination with so-called Polynesian exoticism. But his crowning navigational and scientific achievements took place in the polar regions.
Captain Cook Rediscovered is the first modern study to frame Captain James Cook's career from a North American vantage point. Recognizing that Cook sailed more miles in the high latitudes of all of the world's oceans than in the tropical zone, this book gives due attention to his voyages in seas and lands usually neglected, such as South Georgia in the far southern Atlantic and the Alaskan subcontinent, whose dimensions Cook first delineated. David L. Nicandri acknowledges the cartographic accomplishments of the first voyage but focuses on the second- and third-voyage discovery missions in the icy latitudes near the poles, where Cook pioneered the science of iceberg and icepack formation
This ground-breaking book overturns an area of study that has been typically dominated by the "palm-tree paradigm". Nicandri replaces that stereotype with a balanced account of Cook's travels – resulting in a truly modern appraisal of Cook for the climate change era.
This fascinating account will appeal not only to students of environmental history, naval history, and polar studies but also to Cook enthusiasts and readers with an interest in exploration history, science, and the North.
Part 1: Prequels
1 The North Sea and Canada
2 The Republic of Letters
3 The South Pacific
Part 2: A Frozen World
4 Toward the South Pole
5 The Limit of Ambition
6 Temporizing in the Tropics
7 Cook and Forster, on Ice
Part 3: A Third Voyage
8 An Ancient Quest: A New Mission
9 Southern Staging Grounds
10 Terra Borealis
12 Northern Interlude
13 Intimations of Mortality
Part 4: Sequels
14 Springtime in Kamchatka
15 Diminishing Returns
16 Seeding the Fur Trade on the Voyage Home
Notes; Bibliography; Photo Credits; Index
David L. Nicandri is the former executive director of the Washington State Historical Society, where he served from 1987 until his retirement in 2011.
"[David L. Nicandri] has used recent appreciations of fellow scholars to welcome effect, and the bibliography and index will help inquisitive researchers of the future to advance their own appreciations. His fine concluding chapter presents a program of requirements that future writers, scholarly and other, will want to examine or omit at their peril."
– Barry Gough, BC Studies
"Captain Cook Rediscovered is a fresh, revisionist study. Nicandri invites readers to regard the cartographer's actions, thinking, and writing as adhering to the instructions under which he sailed the Pacific. The result makes a compelling reconsideration of Cook as chiefly a tropical explorer."
– I.S. MacLaren, professor emeritus, Department of History and Classics, and Department of English and Film Studies, University of Alberta
"I thought I had a pretty good handle on the ins and outs of Cook's expeditions. But Captain Cook Rediscovered has opened my eyes on every single page. Nicandri's challenge to the palm-tree paradigm and his relentless (if often entertaining) debunking of the tired-explorer hypothesis, offers fascinating new insights on every conceivable aspect of these expeditions. This book is quite extraordinary."
– Justin M. Jacobs, associate professor of history, American University
"It is marvellous to read a volume which – to start with – is very well written and you can almost feel yourself on board ship off the foggy coasts or surf-ridden shores. The demolition of the 'palm-tree paradigm' is masterly. David Nicandri gives an entirely fresh view of Cook [...] and Cook's musings about ice, sea-ice formation, and climate are fascinating."
– Sophie Forgan, retired historian of science from the University of Teeside, and a trustee of the Royal Institution and the Captain Cook Museum in Whitby, England