On 25th August 1768 Cook got under sail in Endeavour and put to sea. With Joseph Banks onboard and some twenty naturalists and their baggage, he was heading for the vastness of the Pacific in search of, amongst other things, the supposed great southern continent of Terra Australis. Up until this date Cook's life and career had been quite unremarkable and had he died at the age of forty he would be remembered merely as a diligent eighteenth-century surveyor. His ten years of voyaging, however, until his death in 1779, established him at once as the last of the great early navigators in the tradition of Columbus or Frobisher and, at the same time, the first of the modern scientific explorers. The extent of his travels have never been rivalled and Cook left the map of the world, in outline, substantially as we know it today. This biography on Cook attempts to be fair to its subject. It sets out to do full justice to Cook's achievements, but does not hide the more negative sides of his character - his hot temper and his often ruthless determination. Cook's genius as an explorer and cartographer as well as technical aspects of the Harrison chronometer are also explained.
Four of these were used on Cook's second voyage and enabled him to overcome that major obstacle to navigation: the problem of finding longitude.
Rupert Thomas Gould was born in Portsmouth in 1890. He joined the Royal Navy at sixteen but was invalided out in 1915. His passionate interest in all things mechanical led to his lifelong obsession with the Harrison's chronometers at Greenwich on which he spent thirteen years restoring and repairing. He was a prolific author writing on such diverse subjects as the Loch Ness monster and captain Bligh. He died in 1948.