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From the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries, English buccaneers, privateers, and naval expeditions sought fame and fortune in the distant reaches of the South Sea. This engrossing book investigates these maritime adventures and how they were described in popular accounts of the time-accounts that affected English consciousness and perceptions of the wider world and that influenced the planning and nature of the later great voyages of James Cook and others.
"An intriguing and elegant history of European adventures, real and otherwise, in the South Seas during the 16th to 18th centuries...High scholarship on Europe's early gleanings in the Pacific, clever in its gleaning between the lines and a delight to read."-Kirkus Reviews
"This is an erudite and scholarly work, examining the South Sea adventures over two centuries of English buccaneers, privateers and naval expeditions, beginning with Sir Francis Drake and ending with the English naval commander, George Anson."-Alan Judd, Sunday Times
"[This book] provides a fascinating guide to the vexed question of exactly whereabouts on the North American coast Drake made landfall before crossing to Asia...This is a superbly accomplished book, mixing narrative and analysis in just the right measure, continuously beguiling, impeccable in its scholarship but of absorbing interest to the general reader. Other names have been touted recently as dozens of eighteenth-century naval history, but my money is firmly on the erudite nose of Professor Williams as the true master of the subject."-Frank McLynn, Literary Review