(In addition to the below, it is noteworthy that at this writing (September 12, 1997) something over 2,000 visits per month are being made to this Sir Francis Drake web site, indicating that interest in Drake is constant and considerable. Also, I am fielding a steady stream of email from site visitors who wonder when and where the book will be available.)
Who will be interested in this book? The primary subject seems rather specialized, dealing as it does with a bit of zig-zagging and a short stop or two by a small sailing ship during a very long journey over 400 years ago. But so many different sorts of things happened within and around that voyage, and during later efforts to reconstruct its events, that any analysis of either that part of the circumnavigation or of the subsequent search for Drake's harbor necessarily covers a lot of territory. So, in addition to addressing those whose interests are focused on Drake, or on the circumnavigation, or on the anchorage questions, this work speaks to persons interested in fields as diverse as cartography, bibliography, climatology, anthropology, linguistics, the history of the Pacific Northwest in general and California in particular, early European contacts with Native Americans, nautical history, and hoaxes. Because the work is heavily documented it will also be of service to scholars who are looking into related subjects, and it will end pervasive and sometimes embarrassing confusion among librarians about the literature of the circumnavigation.
This work can also be viewed in a more abstract sense, as a study of how the history of a well-known and much-discussed event can turn into something resembling fiction or parody more than fact. Thus it will find some readers who are more interested in the mechanisms of historical research than in any particular events.
Finally, the transcriptions of the source material included in the appendices will be the only accurate and unadulterated copies in print of these fascinating documents, which should give the book more than usual endurance and will place it, on some shelves, near if not among basic reference works.
Author's Note: Some of this material is adapted from or relates to my yet-unpublished book Francis Drake in Nova Albion - The Mystery Restored, in which these and neighboring thickets are explored much more deeply than on these few web pages. Thus there may be references here not fully explained, or answers missing their questions. Also lacking here is documentation, provided in the book by 782 endnotes. - Oliver Seeler