Fatal Journey

The Final Expedition of Henry Hudson


By Peter C. Mancall

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The English explorer Henry Hudson devoted his life to the search for a water route through America, becoming the first European to navigate the Hudson River in the process. In Fatal Journey, acclaimed historian and biographer Peter C. Mancall narrates Hudson’s final expedition.

In the winter of 1610, after navigating dangerous fields of icebergs near the northern tip of Labrador, Hudson’s small ship became trapped in winter ice. Provisions grew scarce and tensions mounted amongst the crew. Within months, the men mutinied, forcing Hudson, his teenage son, and seven other men into a skiff, which they left floating in the Hudson Bay.

A story of exploration, desperation, and icebound tragedy, Fatal Journey vividly chronicles the undoing of the great explorer, not by an angry ocean, but at the hands of his own men.
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  • Washington Post
    “[Fatal Journey] recounts the puzzling episode of a captain overthrown by an enraged faction of his own crew…. [A] short and dependable guide to what befell a great but flawed explorer.”

    Newark Star-Ledger
    “For fans of Mutiny on the Bounty and The Caine Mutiny, Fatal Journey will only add to the store and lore of desperate actions on the high seas…. [Mancall] combines forensic history with pulsing narrative to achieve a highly credible account of how the mission unraveled.”

    Boston Globe
    “Bracingly told.”

    Boston Globe
    “Fatal Journey is a rich, exhilarating narrative of exploration, desperation, and ice-bound tragedy.”

    History Magazine
    “Mancall places Hudson and the mutiny in the context of their age, a time when economic and cultural forces lured explorers and sailors into the dangers of a new world in search of profit and fame.”

    Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research
    “Mancall, in this fascinating account based on a great deal of research, provides a reasonable explanation of Hudson's likely fate, after probably surviving for a polar winter or two…. I recommended this excellent book to both armchair explorers and serious students of the history of the Arctic.”

  • Booklist
    “Mancall's account of the doomed voyage is exciting, tense, and tragic…. This is an excellent re-examination of [Hudson] and his final, sad effort.”

    Minneapolis Star Tribune
    “[Mancall's] facility with primary sources is astounding. The story of Hudson's last voyage becomes, in his experienced hands, a lucid, fascinating lens into early Atlantic explorations. The book bristles with action, details about ship life, insight into British laws (the mutineers were found not guilty), and jaw-dropping accounts of encounters with Americans.”

    Seattle Times
    “This is a story that stretches the imagination and leaves the reader with a shiver.”

    Las Cruces Sun-News
    “Mancall [is] a master storyteller and historian…. Any reader of Dr. Mancall's account will be caught in an exciting adventure and overwhelming tragedy.”

    Washington Times
    “Mr. Mancall writes with authority in tone and scholarship.”

    New York Post
    “Rather than speculate, Mancall delivers the story of how Hudson's crusade put him on a collision course with his men…. But the story is perhaps most compelling in its descriptions of the Northern territory itself.”

On Sale
Sep 28, 2010
Page Count
320 pages
Basic Books

Peter C. Mancall

About the Author

Peter C. Mancall is Professor of History and Anthropology at the University of Southern California, as well as Director of the USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute. He is the author of Hakluyt’s Promise and At the Edge of Empire. He lives in Los Angeles.

Learn more about this author