For those interested in Captain James Cook’s 1768-71 voyage of discovery across the world in the bark Endeavour, author Peter Moore delivers up quite a package. We do not actually meet Cook until page 113, having spent the first 29 pages in a learned discussion of how an acorn becomes an oak tree, and how the village of Whitby, on the English coast, grew into a great manufactory of colliers – seagoing barquentines carrying coals to Newcastle. It is a book rich in detail as the acorn episode indicates, because this is a biography of a ship as well as what at the time was one of the world’s great explorations – the three-year voyage to discover the continent of Australia.
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