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Fatal Journey by Peter C. Mancall

Fatal Journey (2009)

by Peter C. Mancall

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1431128,444 (3.32)12
Examines the events of English explorer Henry Hudson's final expedition in the winter of 1610 and the mutiny that followed, resulting in Hudson, his son, and other crew members being forced off the boat and set adrift in the frigid Hudson Bay.



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An interesting topic, and a well-written book. It is quite easy to read -- but not really original.

Henry Hudson took the Discovery to what is now known as Hudson's Bay in 1610, the fourth of his voyages of exploration. He was seeking the Northwest Passage. He never came home -- but his ship did, with a handful of sick, starving sailors aboard. This is all that is certain. The survivors admitted to mutiny, and there were bloodstains on the ship -- but the surviving sailors blamed the mutiny, and the bloodstains, on men who had died on the trip home. They said that Hudson, several of his allies, and several sick men were set adrift in a small boat -- but all claimed to have been surprised by the mutiny.

To this day, we do not know what really happened. On the one hand, the tale of mutiny seems likely -- the crew could have blamed Hudson's death on scurvy or native attacks, after all. The fact that they admitted to something worse implies that the story is at least partly true. But who was in charge? And what happened to Hudson after he was cast adrift? We simply do not know.

And this book adds little to the story. It reminds us of such facts as are known. But there are no new hypotheses and no new data. If you don't know Hudson's story, then it is a good introduction. But if you do know the story, you won't learn much. ( )
  waltzmn | Feb 12, 2012 |
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Evil appeareth out of the north, and great destruction. -- Jeremiah 6:1
For Lisa
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MUTINY * James Bay, June 1611 -- Like the needle of a compass, Henry Hudson was always attracted to the North.
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