Longitude and Empire: How Captain Cook’s Voyages Changed the World.


In a daring, almost reckless shift, Richardson moves the discussion of what Cook may have read to who may have read Cook’s voyages and how the reading of Cook’s voyages changed the Western view of the world. Cites library statistics from late 18th-century Bristol to show Hawkesworth the most circulated book, with its description of Cook’s first voyage, as the most circulated book in the decade of 1773-1784. By its very organization, he sees the library as a statement about the world and the places in it. As Captain Cook had authority over his ships just as his printed voyages took on the authority of the printed word. He thus sees Cook as an important point of origin for empire as a collection of places as well as a sovereign authority over them (p. 200).