The Enlightenment was an age of endeavours. Britain was consumed by the impulse for grand projects. In 1768 the Royal Navy bought a Whitby collier for an expedition to the South Seas. No one could have guessed she would become the most significant ship in the history of British exploration. Her name was Endeavour.
Endeavour was a ship with many lives, famously carrying James Cook on his first great voyage to the Pacific islands. She was there at the Wilkes Riots in London and witnessed the bloody birth of the United States. A Polynesian priest, botanists, the first kangaroo to arrive in Britain and Hessian soldiers were just a few amongst her many passengers. According to Charles Darwin, she helped Cook add a hemisphere to the civilised world. NASA named a space shuttle after her. Yet to others, she was a toxic symbol, responsible for the dispossession and disruption of societies.
For the first time, Peter Moore tells Endeavour’s complete story, exploring the different lives of this remarkable ship -- from the oak that made her to her rich and complex legacy.