• James Cook

  • The Story Behind the Man Who Mapped the World
  • By: Peter FitzSimons
  • Narrated by: Michael Carman
  • Length: 21 hrs and 23 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (164 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The name Captain James Cook is one of the most recognisable in Australian history - an almost mythic figure who is often discussed, celebrated, reviled and debated.   

But who was the real James Cook?  

This Yorkshire farm boy would go on to become the foremost mariner, scientist, navigator and cartographer of his era, and to personally map a third of the globe. His great voyages of discovery were incredible feats of seamanship and navigation. Leading a crew of men into uncharted territories, Cook would face the best and worst of humanity as he took himself and his crew to the edge of the known world - and beyond.  

With his masterful storytelling talent, Peter FitzSimons brings the real James Cook to life. Focusing on his most iconic expedition, the voyage of the Endeavour, where Cook first set foot on Australian and New Zealand soil, FitzSimons contrasts Cook against another figure who looms large in Australasian history: Joseph Banks, the aristocratic botanist. 

As they left England, Banks, a rich, famous playboy, was everything that Cook was not. The voyage tested Cook's character and would help define his legacy.  

Now, 240 years after James Cook's death, FitzSimons reveals what kind of man James was at heart. His strengths, his weaknesses, his passions and pursuits, failures and successes.  

James Cook reveals the man behind the myth.

©2019 Peter FitzSimons (P)2019 Hachette Australia Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about James Cook

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Historic Voyage

Well, this was OK. Cook is a fascinating figure in the history of exploration and discovery. The late author Tony Horowitz’s Blue Latitudes is the comprehensive, absorbing book against which the FitzSimons work competed for this listener’s respect. This author’s work is marred by inane cuteness in several turns of phrase, and an entirely lopsided narration of events, with an endless dwelling on the Batavia episode.
Intrinsically a great story of determination and frustration (Southern Continent? Where? Must be a mistaken notion!), this book is inevitably informative, and on that basis I recommend it.

6 people found this helpful

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Great. But...

This book was incredibly well written. Except that Mr FitzSimons hasn't met a rhyme, alliterative passage or homophone he didn't want to belabour in a terrible, tiresome and tedious fashion. Seriously, I'd be listening with great enjoyment, when I'd be taken out of the moment by Fitz shoehorning a clanging, banging, haranguing rhyme into the text.

Fitz: It may read fine on paper, but LISTEN to someone read one of your books aloud and then you'll hear!

4 people found this helpful

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Cook,, No Man His Equal As A Navigator

I am listening to this book because I love the Sea, yet fear it like Hell. James Cook a common man in England, broke through the English Caste System that was ingrained in the British Navy Officer Ranks, and left all the gentlemen aside. A rarity in the late 16th Century. The book is meant for those that cannot imagine the hardships of life at Sea, and even today, it can take you to your knees. Treat yourself and ebb back in time to fully understand that lore of the Sea, as this book will be your vessel to another time, another place, and another world.

4 people found this helpful

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Excellent Narrative

Peter FitzSimons is becoming one of my favorite authors .
This book ,for me ,started out a little slow . The pace picked up with the setting of the sails ! Loved how he interprets the meetings between the native population 's and Cook & crew .
I tried this book , after finishing authors "Mutiny on the Bounty" . I enjoyed his way of telling a story , I thought I'd try this book . I wasn't disappointed !
The narrator is one of the best He really brings the book to life ! Often found myself laughing . The narrator relays the author 's sarcasm & humor perfectly ! It sounds more like a good yarn , than history ! Wish more books were written like this !
I highly recommend it !

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excellent account

would have listened to all 3 voyages in the format. excellent account of Cook and company.

2 people found this helpful

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Interesting enough to overcome its frustrations

I can't say that you shouldn't listen to James Cook - I found the story endlessly informative, and though I tend to prefer my histories to have a historical bent, the narrator couldn't have been a better pick for Fitzsimmons' idiosyncratic storytelling. But there were so many times I wished I'd bought any of the other books about James Cook, despite the shortcomings listed in their own review sections. Fitzsimmons' writing is too cute by half, and too long by more than that, with more than one episode along Cook's first circumnavigation of the globe sinking into repetitive accounts of much the same events occurring day after day. Another minor gripe was the author's attempts to humanize Cook in the (seemingly very minimal) time he did not spend at sea, writing him as a warm and loving family man that seems unsupported by any firsthand account and inconsistent with his repeated decisions to ditch his wife and many ill-fated children at the first available chance.

Still, every time I started thinking about abandoning the read, I asked myself if I had learned anything new and interesting from it recently, and the answer was always yes. So I finished it, cover to figurative cover, and have little doubt that I'm now the most informed person about Captain Cook that I know.

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Very good indeed.

Difficult at first but pulled me in simular to a ship moving twards a horizon... Thumbs up on this well researched piece of history.

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Epic

I bought this book on the back of listening to ‘Mutiny On The Bounty’ by the same author. Peter FitzSimons does not disappoint and amazes me with his writing style and attention to detail whilst all the time keeping the listener and reader engaged and entertained. As for the narrator Michael Carmen, take a bow sir, you absolutely crushed this book and are my absolute favourite Audible narrator !!!

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EXTREMELY ATTRACTIVE DESCRIPTIVE STORYTELLING..

I ridiculously had to hold off this review due to not quite getting what Mr. FitzSimoms manner of writing actually was, so unique and, I have to say, very affecting...A quick note, I am very well read( about 1500 written books and 3100 audio books of literary, philosophy, religious, classic adventure, classic fairytale and western mythology
genres to name a few, lol...I LOVE GREAT STORIES AND GREAT PEOPLES THOUGHTS....SO, getting stumped hasn't happened to me for quite awhile...I have so enjoyed this feeling again...
MR. fitzsimons 's style of telling this story of the great James Cook is SOOOO enjoyable.. It is different, but give it a chance and let it draw you in and I believe most of you will really be enthralled to get to the next stage of his story...
The narrator is very talented and a great choice for this style....
NOW , as for the content of the writing, again, this is different for it is interconnected with this unusual style of description..I'm sorry I can't be detailed on this for I still don't quite understand it lol....perhaps I will let go of trying too for in the end, I have so enjoyed this delightful book,,what else matters after all ......

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the best kind of history book

it is a story of great human interest combined with a high point in western civilization awesome

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  • Toni
  • 01-10-20

I really enjoyed this one

This wouldn't have been a book that would normally interest me, but so glad I chose it for my first Audible book.
Going back into James Cook's life with the way it was done gave me some real insight into the person James Cook was - from his childhood to the end. The personal tragedy with his family, so sad.
Interactions with indigenous peoples of the lands they stopped at - remarkable accounts and not what I had expected.
I was fascinated; hooked on this book! What an amazing story - well really an account of the time when this young man sailed off to explore the world using the tools and 'tech' of those. I felt like I was right there as an observer when listening to the book.


9 people found this helpful

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  • Brian
  • 11-14-19

Absolutely brilliant!

From start to finish I thoroughly enjoyed this, transporting me back to what felt like another world , it was an education for me, at times I envy the adventures these teal men had.

I have a completely different perspective and appreciation for James Cooks accomplishments, an inspirational leader of men, I find his writings about the indigenous people I very respectful
Great audio book, 25 hours went very quick.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-27-20

One of the best audiobooks ever!

I thought that I knew this history, but this has so much new information, and is presented in such a compelling manner, that I could not turn it off. Consequentially lost several nights sleep.
Fantastic story, brilliantly presented and superbly narrated. Thorough coverage of many issues, including Cooks marriage, treatment of native populations in Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti and Hawaii. And excellent summary of his involvement in the capture of Quebec. 10/10.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Geoff Alford
  • 11-17-19

Been done

I’m usually a massive fan of the author but this time I felt like I’d heard all of this book via a few other versions of the same subject. It really did just seem like a case of same old, same old. Not sure how it could have been done differently though to be honest.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-13-20

Excellent work

Fitzy at his best, you nearly taste the rum and salt water in one chapter and smell the eucalyptus in the next.

2 people found this helpful

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  • B.Clarkson
  • 09-23-20

A must read... or must listen.

This book is an excellent insight into the life of Cpt. James Cook. The man has recently been demonised by popular belief and his deeds and thoughts misquoted and misconstrued . His thoughts and nature have been fairly discussed and documented in this book and that may surprise some readers (listeners).

2 people found this helpful

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  • Tim Johns
  • 02-28-20

Should have been covered across two books

This was a great read and I thoroughly enjoyed the detailed account of Cooks' early life and his first voyage of discovery on The Endeavor. However readers should note that the whole of the second and third voyages are largely skimmed over in the last 90 minutes of the book, in the epilogue. Having been to the places in Hawaii where pivotal parts of the James Cook story unfolded, I was looking forward to those events getting the full Peter FitzSimons treatment. While briefly covered in this account for sake of completion of the story of the life of James Cook... I felt that the second and third voyages deserved their own book with the same level of detail and deep dive that Peter and his team do so well.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Rick Tai
  • 07-06-22

Great Stuff

I read this account as a person of Maori origin, one of many peoples colonised by the British. Yes, Captain Cook plays a pivotal role in that history and for many of my race, he remains reviled. I however, welcomed the opportunity to learn about this man, and what a great man he undoubtedly was. Imperfect humble intelligent and brave, a man of his time who achieved so much he deserves to be remembered.

FitzSimons and his many collaborators has, i think, done a wonderful job of bringing Cook’s life to the surface, in a way that is captivating and remarkable. Mauri Ora Peter, great job mate.

I commend this book to anyone interested in reading about people who helped shape our world.

Rick Tai
Upper Hutt
Aotearoa, NZ

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  • Raema Nash
  • 06-07-22

Fabulous!

I throughly enjoyed the narration of this book. James cook and his travels was brought alive to me and I learnt sooo much. Thank you Peter for writing it.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-16-22

First book, definitely worth the read.

As this is my first book on here I was rather pleased with my selection, Great to get a perspective of the man and those who he had came in contact with on his journeys around the world as they knew it.