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The History of Grog: Background information when reading The Wide Wide Sea

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The Wide Wide Sea

Imperial Ambition, First Contact and the Fateful Final Voyage of Captain James Cook

by Hampton Sides

The Wide Wide Sea by Hampton Sides X
The Wide Wide Sea by Hampton Sides
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  • Published:
    Apr 2024, 432 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
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The History of Grog

This article relates to The Wide Wide Sea

Image showing nineteenth-century sailors smoking and drinking grogHampton Sides' book The Wide Wide Sea records the third and final voyage of Captain James Cook and relays some of the exploits of his crew aboard the HMS Resolution. One of Cook's key decisions concerned an alcoholic drink known as "grog."

During the Age of Exploration—the 15th to 18th centuries—Royal Navy ships would leave English harbors to sail to unknown lands. No one knew how long ships might be at sea before they would reach a location where they might re-stock their provisions. The food situation was quickly figured out; the vessels were outfitted with items that wouldn't spoil quickly (like hardtack, a sort of dense biscuit), supplemented with animals brought along for the purpose.

Water was more of an issue. They couldn't drink salt water, so they had to bring along many casks of liquid for the crew—a ration of one gallon per day per crewman. (For reference, Cook's Resolution set sail with 118 men on board). Originally ...

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