Harley, Brian J.S.
The Legacy of James Cook: The story of the Bay of Islands.
Harkin Enterprises Ltd.
The opening sentence of the foreword refers to the remoteness of the west coast of Newfoundland and, having spent some time there last year, I can certainly vouch for this, but it is also a fascinating area with some wonderful scenery and some very friendly and hospitable people. Much of today's remoteness is at least accessible by road and air, and is, thus, far from that confronting James Cook when conducting his survey of the west coast in 1767.
In this, his first book, CCSU member Brian Harley, excellently describes Cook's situation in the first three chapters. This part of Cook's life has received little attention and indeed is virtually unknown to many. Brian, with forty years medical work and residence in the area of the Bay of Islands, is admirably placed to blend historic fact with a deep knowledge of the people and the country, to create for the reader an accurate reflection of Cook's work and the conditions in which he achieved success. There will be no dispute with Brian's thesis that Cook's work in the survey of Newfoundland between 1764 to 1767 was the foundation for his even greater success on his later world voyages.
The development of the Bay of Islands area and the debt owed to James Cook is however, the real story told, and the book reveals some fascinating insights to the two centuries of progress. Illustrated with drawings, maps and photographs, mainly in black and white, the story follows a good plan, though it lacks an index; has an excellent bibliography, and provides a very good, informative read.
Originally published in Cook's Log, page 1738, volume 23, number 2 (2000).