Excellent biographies of two master mariners who opened the Pacific to the West in the 18th and 19th centuries.


Captain Cook : voyager between worlds John Gascoigne Cook, James, 1728-1779 Travel Pacific Area London ; New York : Hambledon Continuum, 2007 Hardcover. 1st. ed. xvi, 288 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [259]-275) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text.  VG/VG

Captain James Cook was a supreme navigator and explorer, but in many ways was also a representative of English attitudes in the eighteenth century. In his voyages he came across peoples with hugely different systems of thought, belief and culture.

Born in North Yorkshire in 1728, entered the world of the peoples of the South Pacific the gulf between the two cultures was not nearly as vast as it was a century later, when ships made of metal and powered by steam were able to expand and enforce European Empires.  In their different ways both the British and the peoples of the Pacific had to battle the seas and its moods with timber vessels pwered by sail and human muscle.

John Gascoigne focuses on what happened when the two systems met, and how each side interpreted the other in terms of their own beliefs and experiences.

 

Matthew Calbraith Perry : antebellum sailor and diplomat John H. Schroeder United States. Navy Biography, Perry, Matthew Calbraith, 1794-1858 Annapolis, Md. : Naval Institute Press, c 2001 Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xx, 326 p., [12] p. of plates : ill., maps ; 24 cm.   Includes bibliographical references and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia  in text.  VG/VG

The first complete biography of Matthew Calbraith Perry to appear in well over thirty years, this balanced assessment of the commodore’s long and varied military career deals with both his strengths and weaknesses. Best remembered for leading a naval and diplomatic expedition to Japan in 1853 and 1854, Perry succeeded where others before him had failed and ended Japan’s isolation from the West by signing a treaty that established formal diplomatic relations between the United States and Japan. Today Perry remains a respected figure in Japan as well as the United States.

The noted naval historian John Schroeder draws on recent scholarship as well as archival sources to examine every phase of Perry’s career, from his service under Commodore John Rodgers in the War of 1812 to command of the Africa Squadron, the Gulf Squadron in the Mexican War, and the East India Squadron. He describes Perry’s efforts to modernize and improve the efficiency of the Navy, distinguishing himself not only as a sailor and diplomat but as a naval reformer who advocated technological innovations and better education and training for officers and sailors alike. The author establishes how Perry’s views on American expansion in the Pacific foreshadowed the era in which the U.S. Navy would be instrumental in forging an overseas colonial empire. Written for general readers with an interest in nineteenth-century American history, this interpretive biography will also appeal to those with a specialized interest in U.S. naval history.

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