Endeavour

  • Aus/NZ publication date 20-08-2018 (Penguin Random House)
  • UK publication date 23-08-2018 (Chatto & Windus)
  • US publication date TBC (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
  • Winner of the Mary Soames Prize for history, Winston Churchill Memorial Trust

Endeavour – An Introduction

The Enlightenment was an age of endeavours. From Johnson’s Dictionary to campaigns for liberty to schemes for measuring the dimensions of the solar system, Britain was consumed by the impulse for grand projects, undertaken at speed. ‘Endeavour’ was also the name given to a Whitby collier bought by the Royal Navy in 1768 for an expedition to the South Seas. A commonplace, coal-carrying vessel, no one could have guessed that Endeavour would go on to become the most significant ship in the history of British exploration.

Endeavour famously carried James Cook on his first great voyage, visiting Pacific islands unknown to European geography, charting for the first time New Zealand and the eastern coast of Australia and almost foundering on the Great Barrier Reef. But Endeavour was a ship with many lives. She was there at the Wilkes Riots in London in 1768. During the battles for control of New York in 1776 she witnessed the bloody birth of the United States of America. As well as carrying botanists, a Polynesian priest and the remains of the first kangaroo to arrive in Britain, she transported Newcastle coal and Hessian soldiers. According to Charles Darwin, she helped Cook add a hemisphere to the civilised world. NASA named a space shuttle after her. To others she would be a toxic symbol, responsible for the dispossession of the oldest continuous human society and the disruption of many others.

No one has ever told Endeavour’s complete story before. Peter Moore sets out to explore the different lives of this remarkable ship, from the acorn that grew into the oak that made her, to her rich and complex legacy.

Available to pre-order at AMAZON / WATERSTONES

Reviews for Endeavour

“Endeavour is a dazzling combination of science and adventure, lyrically evocative descriptions of lush tropical landscapes and salt-stung seascapes, and a portrait of an age of “magnificent geniality” … [It is] is an absolute joy from start to finish, and surely my history book of the year.” – Christopher Hart, The Sunday Times

“What a truly remarkable book this is. Those who think they know the story of Captain Cook and the Endeavour are in for an exhilarating shock. This is a brilliant biography of an idea as well as a ship. By focusing on the Endeavour from the acorn to the grave, as well on the kaleidoscope of people and culture connected with her, Peter Moore has brought us a book that is entirely fresh and original.  In lucid prose, he shows how this stalwart, unpretentious, little coal bark came to embody the Age of Exploration, of Enlightenment, of Empire, and of Revolution. Among other surprises, we learn of the layered significance of the ship’s naming and of the wild populist riots that influenced it, of the crucial navigational genius and political tact of Cook’s Polynesian guest, Tupaia, and of how the ship, now renamed, featured heroically in British attempts to defeat the rebellious American colonists and in twentieth-century American attempts to explore outer space.”  – Iain McCalman, author of Darwin’s Armada and The Reef-A Passionate History.

“Fascinating and richly detailed… Peter Moore has brought us an acute insight into the ship that carried some of the most successful explorers across the world. A fine book that’s definitely worth exploring”  – Michael Palin

“Peter Moore’s elegant and entertaining new book offers us a fascinating biography of the Endeavour, using it as a window onto the broader world of the mid-18th-century English Enlightenment…a deeply satisfying book. It represents an intelligent, diverse, fresh and challenging approach to writing the history of exploration” (Literary Review)