PROFILES IN HISTORY
Cover: The Death of Captain Cook: A Hero Made and Unmade, from Harvard University PressCover: The Death of Captain Cook in HARDCOVER

The Death of Captain Cook

A Hero Made and Unmade

Add to Cart

Product Details

HARDCOVER

$19.95 • £15.95 • €18.00

ISBN 9780674031944

Publication Date: 01/15/2009

Short

208 pages

5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

21 halftoness

Profiles in History

North America only

Since first reported to the world in 1780, the death of Captain Cook on a Hawaiian beach the previous year has been revered, celebrated, and shrouded in mystery. Simultaneously called a hero and an antihero, a ruthless invader, and a torchbearer of the Enlightenment, Cook’s reputation grew as much out of the moving story of his death as out of his adventures while he lived.

In a style that is more detective story than conventional biography, Glyn Williams explores the multiple narratives of Cook’s death. He reveals how the British Admiralty first attempted to censor accounts of Cook’s erratic behavior and how the “authorized” version of his death—a lengthy narrative serialized in the leading publications of the day—reduced the story to the final hours of a noble leader who gave his life to save others. Williams argues that the contrary evidence of a chaotic bloody fracas on the beach at Kealakekua Bay was ignored, and that the unexplained disappearance of Cook’s own journal helped the process of concealment. He believes that Cook was not entirely the man sanctified by the British public. More than two hundred years later, an explosive interplay between academic controversy and nationalist feelings has once more drawn attention to a life that has attracted praise and controversy, abhorrence and admiration. In short, Williams examines the story of Cook’s progress from obscurity to fame and, eventually, to infamy—a story that, until now, has never been fully told.

Recent News

From Our Blog

Jacket, Menander Rhetor. Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Ars Rhetorica, edited and translated by William H. Race, Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press

Speech! Speech!

Loeb Classical Library General Editor Jeffrey Henderson introduces four new volumes on oratory and rhetoric. In spring 2019 the Loeb Classical Library significantly expands its coverage in an area central to public life in both Greece and Rome: the theory and practice of formal speech. Already in Homer’s Iliad, heroism required

‘manifold glories of classical Greek and Latin’

The digital Loeb Classical Library (loebclassics.com) extends the founding mission of James Loeb with an interconnected, fully searchable, perpetually growing virtual library of all that is important in Greek and Latin literature.