Joseph Banks

Joseph Banks

Book Title: Joseph Banks

Author: Joe Studholme

Format: Paperback | 328 pages

Publication Date: 08 Dec 1997

ISBN-13: 9780226616285

Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820), was a naturalist, explorer, president for more than forty years of the Royal Society, Britain's oldest scientific institution, and one of Australia's founding fathers. He first rose to fame when, as a young botanist, he accompanied Captain Cook on his epic circumnavigation that resulted in the discovery of Australia. He was a central figure in a generation that transformed an insular monarchy into a modern industrial powerhouse. Yet a complete picture of Banks's long life has never emerged from the vast archive left at his death. The young Banks sailed on expeditions to North America and Iceland as well as the Pacific; he was also instrumental in establishing Kew Gardens as one of the world's greatest botanical centers. An indefatigable correspondent, he had a wide circle of friends and associates, including Cuvier, Watt, Samuel Johnson, and Edward Gibbon. Patrick O'Brian's masterful biography, which makes full use of Banks's letters and journals (some hitherto unknown), brings from the shadows a man of enduring importance. Banks emerges as a cheerful, forthright, and hospitable man whose true genius lay in promoting the enthusiasms of others. His legacy survives not only in his magnificent Florilegium, the record of his botanical studies in the South Seas, but in the development of the Australian continent and the tenor and tradition of subsequent scientific enterprise. Joseph Banks: A Life, gracefully written by one of England's prose masters, provides a fascinating overview of a full and important life.