The Captain and "the Cannibal"
An Epic Story of Exploration, Kidnapping, and the Broadway Stage
In 1830, Captain Benjamin Morrell of Connecticut kidnapped a young nobleman, Dako, from an island off the coast of New Guinea, to exhibit him in Broadway shows. Based on newly discovered archives, this book tells their story for the first time. Alternating between the perspectives of captor and captive, it records the growing friendship between the two men, explores Morrell’s ambiguous character, and charts the return journey that brought Dako back to his homeland.
The Savage Shore
Extraordinary Stories of Survival and Tragedy from the Early Voyages of Discovery
Several months after the Dutch yacht Gilt Dragon set sail for the East Indies, it foundered off the coast of ‘Southland’. The ship broke up, but 73 survivors made it ashore, a few of whom would sail 2,500 miles in a shuyt to fetch help. This was 1653, over a century before Cook’s ‘discovery’ of Australia. These maritime tales present many of the early and often fabled encounters with Australia, its perilous coastline and indigenous population.
The Great Race
Described by The Times as 'an epic tale told concisely and confidently', this book recounts the European 'discovery' and initial exploration of Australia, then concentrates on the rivalry between Matthew Flinders of England and Nicolas Baudin of France in the quest to chart the coast of the Great South Land and compile the definitive map of the continent. Working from first-hand accounts including diaries, Hill celebrates the courage and determination that fuelled their danger-filled voyages.
The Kamikaze Hunters
Fighting for the Pacific, 1945
The final effort of the Second World War against Japan is remembered as mainly an American affair, but the British fleet was there too and British airmen flying from carriers, mostly in leased American Corsair planes. This book recounts those last days of the Pacific War through the eyes of the Royal Navy pilots who flew hundreds of missions over Japan and in the face of desperate Japanese kamikaze attacks during the summer of 1945.
How Australia Became British
Empire and the China Trade
The discovery of the Eastern Passage to China in the mid-18th century, which meant that ships no longer had to wait for the monsoon winds, sparked fierce competition for trade between the warring nations of Britain and France. This revealing study explains how the need to safeguard its sea-lanes to China and India drove Britain to explore the great Australian landmass – glimpsed by the Dutchman Abel Tasman in the previous century – and erect a 'ring fence' around it.