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Book Tour Exclusive // Hampton Sides ~ “The Wide Wide Sea”

May 9 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

The Library Society is honored to welcome back renowned American historian, author, and journalist Hampton Sides for a book tour exclusive on his most recent historical narrative The Wide Wide Sea. Best-known for his gripping non-fiction adventure stories set in war or depicting epic expeditions of discovery and exploration, Sides is the author of the bestselling histories Ghost Soldiers, Blood and Thunder, Hellhound On His Trail, and In the Kingdom of Ice, which recounts the heroic polar voyage of the U.S.S. Jeannette during the Gilded Age. At once a ferociously-paced story of adventure on the high seas and a searching examination of the complexities and consequences of the Age of Exploration, The Wide Wide Sea is a major work from one of the finest narrative nonfiction writers.

On The Wide Wide Sea:

“This exquisitely crafted and novelistic portrait of the mercurial captain enthralls.”
— Publishers Weekly, (starred)

“Beautifully written and impeccably researched, The Wide Wide Sea will delight readers new to the topic as well as those versed in earlier looks at James Cook and his milieu.”
— Booklist

Join the Library Society as we welcome Sides during his East Coast tour and dive deeper into his tale of the most thrilling time of human exploration.


$10 – Members or $15 – General Admission

NOTE: If you are unable to attend the program, and wish to secure a signed copy (or copies!), please pre-order through the following link: The Wide Wide Sea or call Buxton Books at (843) 723-1670.

About The Book: 

From New York Times bestselling author Hampton Sides, an epic account of the most momentous voyage of the Age of Exploration, which culminated in Captain James Cook’s death in Hawaii, and left a complex and controversial legacy still debated to this day. On July 12th, 1776, Captain James Cook, already lionized as the greatest explorer in British history, set off on his third voyage in his ship the HMS Resolution. Two-and-a-half years later, on a beach on the island of Hawaii, Cook was killed in a conflict with native Hawaiians. How did Cook, who was unique among captains for his respect for Indigenous peoples and cultures, come to that fatal moment?

Hampton Sides’ bravura account of Cook’s last journey both wrestles with Cook’s legacy and provides a thrilling narrative of the titanic efforts and continual danger that characterized exploration in the 1700s. Cook was renowned for his peerless seamanship, his humane leadership, and his dedication to science, and was also deeply interested in the native people he encountered. He treated his crew well and endeavored to learn about the societies he encountered with curiosity and without judgment. Yet something was different on this last voyage. Cook became mercurial, ordering violent retaliation on native peoples, resorting to the lash to enforce discipline, and leading his two vessels into danger time and again. This may have had something to do with his secret orders, which were to chart and claim lands before Britain’s imperial rivals could, and to discover the fabled Northwest Passage. The tensions between Cook’s overt and covert missions came to a head on the shores of Hawaii. His first landing there was harmonious, but when Cook returned after mapping the coast of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, his exploitative treatment of the Hawaiians led to the fatal encounter.

About Hampton Sides:

Hampton Sides is best known for his gripping non-fiction adventure stories set in war or depicting epic expeditions of exploration. His most recent work, The Wide Wide Sea: Imperial Ambition, First Contact and the Fateful Final Voyage of Captain James Cook, will be published in April 2024 from Doubleday. Hampton has been a contributor to Outside, National Geographic, Smithsonian, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and many other newspapers and magazines. His journalistic work, collected in numerous published anthologies, has been twice nominated for National Magazine Awards for feature writing. A native of Memphis and a Yale graduate, Hampton is a board member of the Society of American Historians and the Author’s Guild, and he was a recent Miller Distinguished Scholar at the Santa Fe Institute. He has been a resident fellow at Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, the Aspen Institute, the Ucross Foundation, and Stanford University. He has an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Colorado College. Hampton lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.



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