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James Cook and his rivals vie to open up the Southern Hemisphere and claim sovereignty

Two ships set out in search of a missing continent: the St Jean-Baptiste, a French merchant ship commanded by Jean de Surville, and the Endeavour, a small British naval vessel captained by James Cook.  Distinguished historian Geoffrey Blainey tells the story of these rival ships and the men who sailed them.  Just before Christmas 1769, the two captains were almost close enough to see one another – and yet they did not know of each other's existence.  Both crews battled extreme hardships but also experienced the euphoria of 'discovering' new lands.  Sea of Dangers is the most revealing narrative so far written of Cook's astonishing voyage.  It also casts new light on the little-known journey by de Surville; Blainey argues that he was in the vicinity of Sydney Harbour months before Cook arrived.

'A master storyteller's account of the way fantasy and rumour have driven science and exploration' - Weekend Australian

'Blainey's characteristic curiosity raises new questions about Cook and his reputation' - The Age

Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    August 2, 2010


    432 pages

    RRP $26.99

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    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    August 31, 2009

    Penguin eBooks

    432 pages

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    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Geoffrey Blainey

The Story of Australia’s People
A Shorter History of Australia
A Short History of Christianity
Charles Court: I Love This Place
A Short History of the Twentieth Century
A Very Short History of the World
Black Kettle & Full Moon: Daily Life in a Vanished Australia
Black Kettle and Full Moon
The Rush That Never Ended
A Short History of the World


The Story of the Jews
Queens of the Conquest
Guns, Germs And Steel
The Square and the Tower: Networks, Hierarchies and the Struggle for Global Power
The Better Angels Of Our Nature
Three Famines
Hitler's First Victims
Cruel Crossing
The Monuments Men
The Hare With Amber Eyes
Castles Of Steel
The Dark Valley
A Stain in the Blood
Histories of Controversy
Sex Crimes in the Fifties
Hillsborough Voices