Endeavour: a new book

I have been quiet on here for some time but I have not been idle. I am just putting the finishing touches to a new book, Endeavour: the Ship and the Attitude that Changed the World. It is going to be published by Chatto in the UK on 23 August and in the US shortly after at a date soon TBC.

In Endeavour I have tried to do two things. Firstly, I wanted to trace the biography of HM Bark Endeavour, the Whitby collier that James Cook commanded on the first of his three South Sea voyages. Following the ship’s material reality, those who travelled on her, her changing purposes and various significances in the eyes of those she encountered was one challenge, but I also wanted to use Endeavour as an emblem of a specific moment in history: an energetic time, filled with schemes and projects – for good or ill.

All this has kept me very busy for the last few years. In 2016 I was awarded a travelling fellowship by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust to follow Endeavour to Australia and New Zealand. Standing on the foreshore beside the Tūranganui River on New Zealand’s North Island brought home to me just how unimaginably far that tiny bark and her company of ninety or so sailors travelled. But, as it turned out, for Endeavour that was only the start of it.

For subscribers to the Literary Review, I’ve written briefly about the book in this month’s edition along with my thoughts on the excellent new British Library exhibition – James Cook: the Voyages.

For those more interested in clouds than ships, I’ve still occasionally been talking about the weather. Two fun things recently were a podcast with Walter Isaacson Cloudy with a Chance of Disruption and a recording of the BBC World Service programme, The Forum.

Above is a picture from the top of a mainmast in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand, during my Endeavour research. If you are interested in getting yourself an early copy of the book it is now available for pre-order at Amazon, Waterstones or, all the better, you could ask your local bookshop.

Endeavour UK hardback
With detail from Thomas Luny's Earl of Pembroke, later Endeavour, leaving Whitby Harbour in 1768
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  • Lawrence Talbot says:

    Not directly connected to Endevour, but quite close, and may well interest you! I have an oil on board, 8″x 10″, by Nicolas Cleveley,Jnr, of HMS Resolution setting her anchor at “The Downs”, Signed initials and dated 1776. This has been a long time “Sleeper”, but I think I have now brought her back to Life! I am sure that you are aware this fits the date July 1776 when Cook set off on his third and fatal voyage and her log tells us that Cleveley’s son was in the crew as “carpenter”, hence this picture ?
    I found it in my father’s attic, un-hung and filthy black with dirt in 1967 on his death. I have no idea where he got it on from whom inherited! I had it cleaned and , as I was a fine art auctioneer as my career, gradually “read” what is there to see!

    • Peter Moore says:

      That sounds interesting indeed! Resolution is much better represented in contemporary art than Endeavour, of course, but I’m sure lots of people would love to see the Cleveley seascape. Have you any plans to exhibit it? Great (and enigmatic) story too. Thanks Lawrence

  • Lawrence Talbot says:

    I have just read a crit of your new book on “Endevour”
    If you ever think of a follow-up and do one on”Resolution” I have an oil on board of her by Nicolas Cleveley, jnr, dated 1776, anchoring at The Downs, about to depart on Cook’s last voyage. His son was in the crew as “carpenter”! It is only 8″ x 10″, so he may have done it to be engraved, but I haven’t found a print of it yet!.
    Good Luck with the book! yrs. Lawrence.

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