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  • Endeavour

  • By: Peter Moore
  • Narrated by: Ric Jerrom
  • Length: 19 hrs and 37 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (40 ratings)

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Endeavour cover art

Endeavour

By: Peter Moore
Narrated by: Ric Jerrom
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Summary

Random House presents the audiobook edition of Endeavour, written by Peter Moore, read by Ric Jerrom.

An inventive biography of one of the most famous ships of all time from the oak tree it was made from to its last voyage in the American War of Independence

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.

©2018 Peter Moore (P)2018 Penguin Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic reviews

A joy of a biography, offering up a blizzard of maritime and political fascinations... Moore has written a book that makes the case for his little ship both compelling and irrefutable (Simon Winchester)
Moore uses Endeavour as a window to the age of enlightenment. Like the period it recounts, this book has enormous energy, creativity and self-confidence. It's a feast of endless exotic dishes, all delivered with immense style (Gerard DeGroot)
Beautifully constructed, his book is not just the history of a single vessel, but a window into the intellectual and political life of the age of enlightenment, from the thrill of botanical discovery to the horror of Cook's last moments on the beaches of Hawaii (Dominic Sandbrook)

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Wow not my normal read glad I did

History made interesting. I was amazed how easy it was to retain the information such was the writing style and skill of the narrator.

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An instant favourite

This book is for anyone who is genuinely interested in anything at all in the humanities and science. You know who you are. Is it thorough and detailed? Yes! Is this ever burdensome? No, not at all. I found this to be a truly enjoyable and memorable book. A great work of research and reflection, generously and thoughtfully shared.

Erik E, Sweden

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  • RG
  • 25-03-20

Wonderful to sail through this period of history

I thought this was utterly enjoyable and informative. It's well written and beautifully narrated - hats off for the many accents attempted throughout. It really adds another layer of texture to the prose. It's covers an interesting period of UK and World history complementing the 'enlightened' times that were beginning to blossom in the 18th Century - by that I mean the rise of logical reasoning and science as a way for countries to progress, though social injustice, slavery and racialism also had a firm hold. The only downside to this - and maybe downside is unfair - is that reference to maps and charts would be useful, which I'm sure are present in the printed version. I enjoyed learning about shipmaking in the 18th Century - sourcing wood and the industry around the country; I loved learning about the politics and characters of the day and learning a little about Captain Cook and the scientific expedition he undertook on the Endeavour, plus the events leading up to the Declaration of Independence. I think it's often difficult to really create a historical atmosphere when writing but this book does gives you a sense of immersion into life then. What I'd like to have known more of the crew other than the famous people mentioned - how were they selected? what was it like to be away for so long? what were the rewards? etc. Nevertheless, I thoroughly recommend this audio book

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Great idea, imperfectly done

l heard William Dalrymple raving about this book on his Empire podcast, and was excited to hear it. Sadly, I felt it didn't live up to its promise. The prologue, introducing the first encounter with Endeavour by a nineteenth-century jourralist, sets the pattern for the rest of the book: it feels as if the author, excited by many sources and possible directions, can't choose between them. Quotes are lengthy and not always to the point, and the narrative which should be so moving never feels properly cohesive.

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An absolute delight from start to finish

I must say that for anyone to enjoy this book they must be a sucker for detail! This is not the story of Captain Cook, it is exactly as the title says, namely the exhaustive history of the ship Endeavour from the oak trees that made her right through to modern salvage operations to locate the exact position of her shipwreck. Captain Cook and the botanist Joseph Banks appears along with many many other characters from the late seventeenth century onwards but it is the ship herself which is central. I like detail and I love stories of the sea and I love the incredible spirit of exploration that marked that century of enlightenment. The book is not fast paced but an immersive plunge into both the life of the ship and into the whole idea of human endeavour itself. Loved it.

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1 person found this helpful

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Truly Wonderful!

A story that takes your breath away with fantastic narration for nautical novices and connoisseurs.

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Awful

Just dire. No cohesive thread, at times I had no idea what I was listening to. All narrated with a fake urgency.

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slow, padded out, where was the editor?

if you're expecting a rip-roaring 'biography of a ship' like Michael Palin's excellent 'Erebus' or David Cordingly's equally excellent 'Billy Ruffian' forget it. this piece is padded out to nearly 20 hours with dull reflections on, as it says in the sub-title, the 'attitude that changed the world'. hello? I had to give up after 3 hours so maybe it does become wonderful - if so apologies. not for me though.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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yawn

got to chapter 6, enough for me. ramble, ramble, ramble, blah, blah, blah... etc.

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