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Farther than any man: the rise and fall of Captain James Cook Dugard, Martin. 2001


Carr 1983Farther than any man: the rise and fall of Captain James Cook
By Martin Dugard, published by Pocket Books, 2001. ISBN 0743400682.
Dugard obviously likes and admires Cook. That fact comes across strongly in this book. However, just about every other fact in the book is incorrect and Dugard has ended up doing Cook a terrible service by writing an awful book. A person new to Cook would come away from this book badly informed.
Several traditional mistakes are perpetuated but many more new ones are introduced. They start on page 3 when Dugard writes that Cook visited the islands now known as Tuvalu and the mistakes and strange interpretations just keep on coming. He has Cook going to Canada and learning to be a surveyor three years too early. Palliser is credited with giving him the opportunity.
Cook apparently single-handedly won the Battle of Quebec; according to Dugard, Cook mapped the St. Lawrence and found the path at L'Anse au Foulon that allowed the British to climb to the Heights of Abraham.
Cook's elder brother John was born only four months after their parents were married and Cook, himself, married Elizabeth only two weeks after meeting her. Cook apparently was chosen to lead the Pacific Voyage in 1768 after the Earl of Sandwich and Banks had connived on a rowing boat. An unknown such as Cook would lead in title only leaving Banks to really lead the expedition. Given that Lord Hawke was then in charge and Banks was a relative unknown himself, Dugard has allowed his imagination to run wild in this and many other statements.
The book would be better termed a fiction and it is not helped by not having an index or bibliography. Simon & Schuster, the publishers of Pocket Books should have had the book edited by someone with a passing knowledge of Cook. That they could publish this bad book after recently producing Karen Hesse's Stowaway is a mystery.
Reviewer: John Robson
Originally published in Cook's Log, page 1893, volume 24, number 4 (2001).

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