Summary and book reviews of Endeavour by Peter Moore

Endeavour

The Ship That Changed the World

by Peter Moore

Endeavour by Peter Moore X
Endeavour by Peter Moore
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  • Published:
    May 2019, 432 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
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About this Book

Book Summary

An unprecedented history of the storied ship that Darwin said helped add a hemisphere to the civilized world.

The Enlightenment was an age of endeavors, with Britain consumed by the impulse for grand projects undertaken at speed. Endeavour was also the name given to a collier bought by the Royal Navy in 1768. It was a commonplace coal-carrying vessel that no one could have guessed would go on to become the most significant ship in the chronicle of British exploration.

The first history of its kind, Peter Moore's Endeavour: The Ship That Changed the World is a revealing and comprehensive account of the storied ship's role in shaping the Western world. Endeavour famously carried James Cook on his first major voyage, charting for the first time New Zealand and the eastern coast of Australia. Yet it was a ship with many lives: During the battles for control of New York in 1776, she witnessed the bloody birth of the republic. 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. NASA ultimately named a space shuttle in her honor. But to others she would be a toxic symbol of imperialism.

Through careful research, Moore tells the story of one of history's most important sailing ships, and in turn shines new light on the ambition and consequences of the Age of Enlightenment.

1
Acorns

Endeavour's life starts in an unrecorded time, in a subterranean space several inches deep. There, as summer fades into autumn, an oak tree begins life as an acorn.

An acorn is a capsule, protected by a waxy skin. Inside is stored a genetic code and enough nutrients, tannins and essential oils to sustain it during its fragile early weeks. In September, it begins to grow, slowly, until after a fortnight its shell bursts open. For the first time, the acorn's insides can be seen. The ochre hue of the kernel contrasts sharply with the mahogany-brown of the shell, which cracks under the strain. A root dives downward, a tiny probe, seeking water and nutrients. By November, as the earth above gets a coating of frost, the husk of its shell has been pushed clear. In its place are the earliest signs of a stem, which ventures up, seeking light.

After four months the acorn's shell is shattered and discarded and gone. The stem is now the central feature of the tiny plant. It continues to ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Moore's prose occasionally bogs down the narrative, as does his tendency to elaborate on minor details...Endeavour is obviously a labor of love, however, extensively researched and engaging, and well worth plowing through the less relevant sections.   (Reviewed by Kim Kovacs).

Full Review (683 words).

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Media Reviews

The Times (UK)
Endeavour is an extraordinary book about an unlikely ship that defined an age ... The book reminded me of one of those opulent 18th-century feasts enjoyed by King George ­– endless exotic dishes all delivered with exquisite style. Like the age it recounts, it is a book of energy, creativity and self-confidence.

The Guardian (UK)
Moore's richly detailed book is an engrossing love letter to a word, an attitude and a ship: it is an endeavour that honours 'Endeavour', without denying the death and destruction that followed in her wake.

Literary Review (UK)
Endeavour is a deeply satisfying book. It represents an intelligent, diverse, fresh and challenging approach to writing the history of exploration. Paying homage to the remarkable lives of a single vessel, Peter Moore also gives the Endeavour a new lease of life long after its sinking.

The Sunday Times (UK)
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' ... Endeavour is an absolute joy from start to finish, and surely my history book of the year.

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
History at its most exciting and revealing.

Booklist (starred review)
In learning about one boat's world-straddling feats, readers also learn about the impetuous spirit that transformed society during the decades she sailed ... With an acute eye, Moore limns the conflicting human impulses in the first episodes of this epoch-making drama. Maritime history that opens onto much more.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

Transit of Venus

Replica of the HM Bark Endeavour The HMS Endeavour, the eponymous subject of Peter Moore's book, was purchased by the British Navy in 1768. One of its missions was to transport a group of scientists to Tahiti where they could make astronomical measurements during a rare event called the Transit of Venus.

Venus is the third brightest object in the night sky, after the Sun and the Moon. Named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty, it is the second planet from the sun.

In astronomical terms, a transit is when a planet can be observed crossing the face of the star it orbits. From our position on the third planet from the sun, there are only two transits we can directly watch: Mercury and Venus. Due to differences in how Mercury and Venus orbit the Sun, a transit ...

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