One of our greatest writers about the sea has written an engrossing story of one of history's most legendary maritime explorers. Patrick O'Brian's biography of naturalist, explorer and co-founder of Australia, Joseph Banks, is narrative history at its finest. Published to rave reviews, it reveals Banks to be a man of enduring importance, and establishes itself as a classic of exploration.
"It is in his description of that arduous three-year voyage [on the ship Endeavor] that Mr. O'Brian is at his most brilliant. . . . He makes us understand what life within this wooden world was like, with its 94 male souls, two dogs, a cat and a goat."—Linda Colley, New York Times
"An absorbing, finely written overview, meant for the general reader, of a major figure in the history of natural science."—Frank Stewart, Los Angeles Times
"[This book is] the definitive biography of an extraordinary subject."—Robert Taylor, Boston Globe
"His skill at narrative and his extensive knowledge of the maritime history . . . give him a definite leg up in telling this . . . story."—Tom Clark, San Francisco Chronicle
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Joseph Banks (1743-1820) led a life of great adventure. As a naturalist, he accompanied Captain James Cook on expeditions to Australia and Tahiti, where he cataloged new species of plants and animals; as an explorer, he helped chart sea passages along the coast of Canada to the Arctic. He was also at the center of power in his time, enjoying an on-again, off-again friendship with King George III and cultivating acquaintances with the leading scientists and statesmen of his time. Patrick O'Brian, well known for his captivating seafaring novels, brings dramatic flair to retelling the incidents of Banks's life, which are closely tied to the expansion of the British empire.From Library Journal:
O'Brian, creator of the popular fiction series depicting the British navy during the Napoleonic Wars, demonstrates his considerable research talents with this biography. Banks (1743-1820), who served for over 40 years as president of the Royal Society, Britain's oldest scientific institution, was the quintessential Englishman of this period. As a young botanist, Banks accompanied Captain Cook on a global voyage that culminated in the "discovery" of Australia. Later Banks helped to establish London's Kew Gardens as the world's greatest botanical center. A man of unusual energy and influence, he was instrumental in promoting the careers of other notable men. His considerable correspondence and journals have allowed O'Brian to write a solid biography that is rich in scholarship and engaging in style. Recommended for public libraries.
- Laurie Bartolini, Lin coln Lib., Springfield, Ill.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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