James Cook, born in 1728, rose from the lowest ranks of the merchant marine, then through the Royal Navy, to become one of the most celebrated men of his time, the last and the greatest of the romantic navigator/explorers. His voyages to the eastern and western seaboards of North America, the North and South Pacific, the Arctic and the Antarctic, brought a new understanding of the world's geography and of the peoples, flora, and fauna of the lands he discovered. Richard Hough's meticulously researched narrative captures all the excitement of this age of discovery and establishes Cook as a link between the vague scientific speculations of the early eighteenth century and the industrial revolution to come. He pioneered the use of new navigational technology, measuring and recording endlessly, producing maps of unprecedented accuracy. He revolutionized the seaman's diet, all but eliminating scurvy. Always seeking the truth of geography Cook was also an exploder of myths, among them that of the great southern continent imagined by earlier geographers and scientists.