From Maps to Metaphors: The Pacific World of George Vancouver


353 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-7748-0470-X
DDC 910'.9164'3





Edited by Robin Fisher and Hugh Johnston
Reviewed by Barry M. Gough

Barry M. Gough is a history professor at Wilfrid Laurier University and
author of The Northwest Coast: British Navigation, Trade, and
Discoveries to 1812.


This book is a collection of papers read at Simon Fraser University’s
Vancouver Conference on Exploration and Discovery, which was held on the
occasion of the bicentenary of Captain George Vancouver’s voyage to
the Pacific. While the title is entirely misleading, the contents are
important contributions to the literature. The individual papers are
linked only by the general theme of the late–18th-century Pacific
world, and by the problems associated with navigation, particularly
contact with Native cultures. A comprehensive bibliography would have
helped students tackle these subjects, and the book is less than
generous in its provision of illustrations. Canadian students of the
subject will be pleased to read James Gibson’s assessment of why the
Russians were both late and lame in their discoveries, and will find
compelling Christon Archer’s hard-hitting assessment of Spanish
“manipulation” of the Natives. Regrettably, Alan Frost read neither
my Distant Dominion (1980) nor The Northwest Coast (1992), where he
would have found the fundamentals of the essay on the Nootka crisis that
he produces.


“From Maps to Metaphors: The Pacific World of George Vancouver,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 19, 2024,