The Trial of the Cannibal Dog - Salmond, Anne - Yale University Press

Social Science

The Trial of the Cannibal Dog

The Remarkable Story of Captain Cook’s Encounters in the South Seas

  • Anne Salmond
      REVIEWS             PREVIEW             CONTENTS             EXCERPTS      

This vivid book retells the story of Captain Cook’s great voyages in the South Seas, focusing on the encounters between the explorers and the island peoples they “discovered.” While Cook and his men were initially confounded by the Polynesians, they were also curious. Cook and his crew soon formed friendships—and often more intimate relationships—with the islanders. The islanders, who initially were not certain if the Englishmen were even human, came to experiment with Western customs and in some cases joined the voyagers on their expeditions.

But familiarity quickly bred contempt. Shipboard discipline was threatened by these new relationships, and the culture of the islands was also changed forever. Captain Cook, initially determined to act as an enlightened leader, saw his resolve falter during the third voyage. Amicable relations turned hostile, culminating in Cook’s violent death on the shores of Hawaii.

In this masterful account of Cook’s voyages, Anne Salmond—a preeminent authority on the history of the south seas—reimagines two worlds that collided in the eighteenth century, and the enduring impact of that collision.

Anne Salmond is Distinguished Professor of Maori Studies at the University of Auckland and a Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University. An award-winning author, she was made Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1995 for services to literature and the Maori people.

For sale in the U.S. only