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From 1792 to 1795, George Vancouver sailed the Pacific as the captain of his own expedition and as an agent of imperial ambition. To map a place is to control it, and Britain had its eyes on America's Pacific coast. And map it Vancouver did. His voyage was one of history’s greatest feats of maritime daring, discovery, and diplomacy, and his marine survey of Hawaii and the Pacific coast was at its time the most comprehensive ever undertaken. But just two years after returning to Britain, the 40-year-old Vancouver, hounded by critics, shamed by public humiliation at the fists of an aristocratic sailor he had flogged, and blacklisted because of a perceived failure to follow the Admiralty’s directives, died in poverty, nearly forgotten. In this riveting and perceptive biography, historian Stephen Bown delves into the events that destroyed Vancouver’s reputation and restores his position as one of the greatest explorers of the Age of Discovery.
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Stephen R. Bown is the author of many critically acclaimed, award-winning titles, including most recently White Eskimo (Douglas & McIntyre, 2015), which was the winner of the 2016 William Mills Prize for Non-Fiction Polar Books. Bown lives in the Canadian Rockies.From Publishers Weekly:
Though mostly forgotten, the 1791-95 voyage of Capt. George Vancouver and his crew rivaled Columbus and Cook's for long-term impact; Vancouver's painstaking navigation through the uncharted Pacific set the path for modern North Pacific history. Bown (Scurvy, A Most Damnable Invention) provides a thorough, engaging account of a journey remarkable for its time and even more so in retrospect. Essential background information is flawed by excessive foreshadowing, but Bown's vivid account of Vancouver's work-mapping the labyrinthine coast between Northern California and southern Alaska, stopping off in Hawaii and Spanish California-proves fascinating. Plans for the voyage changed repeatedly; the end of the American Revolution, Britain's long rivalry with Spain, the pressure for new trade routes, manipulation by British politicians and fur traders, and the obsession with finding a Northwest Passage made a difficult, vague assignment nearly impossible. The last chapters read like a thriller, as Vancouver's health declines, his relations with the crew sour, and Britain and France go to war. Any fan of the Great Age of Sail, the history of the Royal Navy, or European voyages of exploration will enjoy rediscovering this almost-forgotten hero.
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Book Description Douglas & McIntyre, 2008. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P111553653394
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