Farther Than Any Man, by Martin Dugard

Born the son of a farm overseer, James Cook had never even seen the sea until he was in his teens. When he did, he began a love affair with the water and with exploring its farthest reaches, which would persist until his death.

Managing to get a job at the lowest of ranks aboard a merchant ship, Cook began a meteoric rise through the ranks, transferring to the Navy and eventually becoming the first ever commoner to command a Navy vessel. On the Eneavour, Cook led a three-year journey which changed the face of modern exploration. He charted New Zealand’s coastline and the eastern coast of Australia for the first time, and returned home a hero. His subsequent trip, in charge of another ship, the Resolution searched for the elusive Southern Continent of Antartica. This trip cemented Cook’s place in English society and gave him the fame and respect he had long sought. He could retire, having achieved his life’s goals. Unfortunately for Cook, the lure of further glory and the prospect of being replaced in the record books drove him to take command of one more voyage. It was to be his undoing.

Further Than Any Man recounts Cook’s voyages in vivid detail. The highs and lows of each journey, the friendships and the foibles of the man who was Jame Cook are detailed, as are the motivations for the man who wanted to go further than any man.

Informative, balanced, real.

Farther Than Any Man: The Rise and Fall of Captain James Cook, by Martin Dugard
Allen & Unwin, 2003