Endeavour is the story of a ship, an idea, and a way of looking at the world. It is grounded in the Enlightenment, 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--a commonplace coal-carrying vessel--made of oak, bought by the Royal Navy in 1768. No one could have guessed it would go on to become the most significant ship in the chronicle of British exploration. As Charles Darwin wrote, Endeavour added an entire hemisphere to the civilized world when it carried Captain James Cook on his first major voyage, newly charting the existence of New Zealand and the eastern coast of Australia.
Endeavour also had a role in American history. 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 Hessian soldiers to American shores as well as Newcastle coal. NASA ultimately named a space shuttle in her honor. But to others she was a toxic symbol of empire, responsible for dispossession and disruption.
The first history of its kind, Peter Moore's Endeavour: The Ship That Changed the World is the epic telling of the ship's many lives. Using meticulous research, Moore tells the story of one of history's most defining sailing ships, and in turn shines new light on the ambition and consequences of the Enlightenment.