On Stormy Seas: The Triumphs and Torments of Captain George Vancouver. Gillespie, B. Guild. 1992

Gillespie, B. Guild. 
On Stormy Seas: The Triumphs and Torments of Captain George Vancouver.
Horsdal & Schubart.
ISBN 0-920663-12-5.

I recently came across this book when visiting the Vancouver Maritime Museum and greatly enjoyed the read during my flight and journey home. A5 size, soft-backed, the 300 pages are written as though by the hand of John Vancouver, George's oldest brother.

The book relates the life of George Vancouver, giving due attention in the early chapters to the voyages with Cook and the wisdom and skills stemming from these voyages which proved so valuable to Vancouver some years later. Naturally, the major part of the story is devoted to Vancouver's command of the Discovery and the Chatham on the expedition to North America (1790-9) in a further attempt to discover the N.W. Passage. Throughout there is the on-going feud with the Hon. Thomas Pitt (later Lord Camelford) and then the arguments with the Admiralty over pay, much of which provided the torment which led to the early death of Vancouver in 1798.

The narrative flows well and interest is maintained throughout. Maps, photographs and drawings provide excellent illustration; there is a detailed bibliography and source notes, and a very useful index. An absorbing read.

Alwyn Peel

Originally published in Cook's Log, page 1738, volume 23, number 2 (2000).

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