REVIEW ´ Madness Betrayal and the Lash

Stephen R. Bown ë 1 REVIEW

REVIEW ´ Madness, Betrayal and the Lash ¶ From 1792 to 1795 George Vancouver sailed the Pacific as the captain of his own expedition — and as an agent of imperial ambition To map a place is to control it and Britain had its eyes on America's Pacific coast And map it Vancouver did His voyage was one of history’s greatest feats of maritimeRy and diplomacy and his marine survey of Hawaii and the Pacific coast was at its time the most comprehensive ever undertaken But just two years after returning to Britain the 40 year old Vancouver hounded by critics shamed by public humiliation at the fists of an aristocratic sailor he had flogged and blackliste. I would give this stars if I could It’s the best book I’ve read this year and one of the most well written historical narratives I’ve come across The story of George Vancouver and his incredible voyage is sympathetically but honestly told with accuracy and an eye for an inclusive approach to all individuals involved including First Nations and the Spanish As someone from Vancouver BC it was an honour to learn about the namesake of this city and I consider it a must read for every British Columbian Extremely high recommend


From 1792 to 1795 George Vancouver sailed the Pacific as the captain of his own expedition and as an agent of imperial ambition To map a place is to control it and Britain had its eyes on America's Pacific coast And map it Vancouver did His voyage was one of history’s greatest feats of maritime daring discove. VINDICATED AFTER 200 YEARSA review by Phillip Taylor MBELittle had been written about George Vancouver until Ernie Coleman's excellent and uncomplicated biography in 2000 and Stephen Bown's new detailed and scholarly work in 2008 Bown's work is a re evaluation of Vancouver's life and work it's excellent in every respect And it fills an important gap in 18th century naval history and surveying in North West AmericaI live where Vancouver spent his last days in Petersham Richmond Surrey We celebrate his life annually at a service in the churchyard where he is buried at St Peter's Church Petersham I have also visited beautiful Vancouver and the island and travelled part of the North West coast of Northern America being married to a Vancouverite Therefore I have a special interest and regard for this man and the area he explored Let's get a few things straight about Vancouver He was an experienced sailor having served on the last voyage of Captain Cook as a midshipman However Vancouver was not an experienced diplomat but his record as Master and Captain of HMS Discovery from 1792 5 was very good for the times Only one person died during the voyages and I can see from Bown's work that Vancouver cared for his men although he had an inexperienced crew and some malevolent officers including Sir Joseph Banks the aristocrat Thomas Pitt and the ship's surgeonYou can't do much against this sort of list Vancouver's reputation was shattered and he died alone with little money on the completion of his surveys and diaries at the age of 40 Our services in Petersham over the 25 years I have attended are often sad occasions for me as I reflect on his life during the commemorations Bown's book is one of the best I have read for ages about this unpleasant period of British naval history when Captain Vancouver's name and contribution were smeared and he vindicates him It is a well researched and referenced book with many recorded stories which give light onto the problems of the times And one gets the feeling of the period with this book brilliantly It has 13 chapters in four parts plus great photographs which delve into great detail with a splendid list of sources and a bibliography at the back Bown paints Pitt in particular as the baddie rightly with few redeeming features and he exposes the aristocratic establishment of the time hard for their unjust behaviour towards VancouverI would probably not liked to have served under Vancouver as I can see some of the leadership problems he had to deal with challenging behaviour from senior officers is difficult at the best of times and I have had my fair share of them in the past However I have a tremendous regard for George Vancouver which remains strengthened by Bown's biography ending with this tribute “He accomplished great things and as our historical and cultural ancestor he deserves a greater place in our collective memory” He just got it here from Stephen Bown So thank you very much Mr Bown from an admirer where Vancouver now rests

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Madness Betrayal and the LashD because of a perceived failure to follow the Admiralty’s directives died in poverty nearly forgotten In this riveting and perceptive biography historian Stephen Bown delves into the events that destroyed Vancouver’s reputation and restores his position as one of the greatest explorers of the Age of Discover. I read this book on Vancouver Island two summers ago and the passages that stick with me are those that describe how Captain Vancouver and his crew carried out the painstaking and perilous job of rowing all around and along the coastline of what would become British Columbia exploring navigating and mapping all the islands cove and fjords Sure it's a beautiful place but I could vividly imagine the tedium the the drizzling Northwest Pacific rain and the dispiriting coldI recommend this book for any British Columbian interested in the knowing about the endurance and hardihood of the first European travelers to this part of the world