Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

In The Voyages of Captain Cook, Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler present a detailed account of the three voyages undertaken by British naval captain James Cook between 1768 and 1780. Although Cook, as commander of the voyages, takes center stage, this is not a conventional biography. The events of Cook’s life before the voyages are only briefly summarized in chapter 1, and his personal life is only fleetingly touched upon throughout the book. The remaining three chapters are each devoted to one voyage: that of the Endeavour between 1768 and 1771, that of the Resolution and Adventure in the years from 1772 to 1775, and Cook’s final voyage in the Resolution and Discovery between 1776 and 1780. Cook did not live to see the end of this voyage; he was killed on Hawaii in 1779.

The focus of the Hooblers’ account is on Cook’s explorations in the South Pacific, for which he achieved lasting fame. As the first to map this region accurately, Cook won a place in the line of great explorers reaching back to Christopher Columbus. In their foreword, the Hooblers summarize Pacific exploration before Cook, placing him in the context of eighteenth century exploration.

The body of the work, the accounts of Cook’s voyages, is based on Cook’s own journals, supplemented by other primary sources such as newspapers. In their bibliography, the Hooblers cite several other scholarly and popular works on Cook,...

(The entire section is 405 words.)