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The Apotheosis of Captain Cook

European Mythmaking in the Pacific

By Gananath Obeyesekere

About the Book

Here Gananath Obeyesekere debunks one of the most enduring myths of imperialism, civilization, and conquest: the notion that the Western civilizer is a god to savages. Using shipboard journals and logs kept by Captain James Cook and his officers, Obeyesekere reveals the captain as both the self-conscious civilizer and as the person who, his mission gone awry, becomes a ""savage"" himself.

In this new edition of The Apotheosis of Captain Cook, the author addresses, in a lengthy afterword, Marshall Sahlins's 1994 book, How ""Natives"" Think, which was a direct response to this work.


"Without question the most provocative reassessment of the famed explorer's demise.... Obeyesekere has made a persuasive case for his counternarrative of Captain Cook, strongly supporting it with a fine-grained analysis of an impressive array of cultural material, some of it long submerged."--Amy Burce, The Sciences