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The Wide Wide Sea: Imperial Ambition, First Contact and the Fateful Final Voyage of Captain James Cook

by Hampton Sides

Knox Says

I love Sides’ style of storytelling, and he’s now a season pass because he writes very cinematically without getting stuck in the minutia of the sea voyage. How he gets to the question of why Cook was killed and what led to it is fascinating. If you’re at all interested in history, the age of exploration, or cultural discovery, this is a fascinating book that I highly encourage you to read.


On July 12th, 1776, Captain James Cook, already lionized as the greatest explorer in British history, set off on his third voyage in his ship the HMS Resolution. Two-and-a-half years later, on a beach on the island of Hawaii, Cook was killed in a conflict with native Hawaiians. How did Cook, who was unique among captains for his respect for Indigenous peoples and cultures, come to that fatal moment?
Hampton Sides’ bravura account of Cook’s last journey both wrestles with Cook’s legacy and provides a thrilling narrative of the titanic efforts and continual danger that characterized exploration in the 1700s.