Dead Reckoning

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Title: Dead Reckoning: The Untold Story of the Northwest Passage
Published by: HarperCollins Canada
Release Date: 2017
ISBN13: 978-1443441261


With this book, Ken McGoogan caps a quintet of works about Arctic exploration. Orthodox history celebrates such naval figures as John Franklin, Edward Parry and James Clark Ross. Dead Reckoning tells their stories but also encompasses such forgotten heroes as Thanadelthur, Akaitcho, Tattanoeuck, Ouligbuck, Tookoolito and Ebierbing, to name just a few. Without the assistance of the Inuit, Franklin’s recently discovered ships, Erebus and Terror, would still be lying undiscovered at the bottom of the polar sea.

Dead Reckoning ranges from the sixteenth century to the present day, looks at climate change and the politics of the Northwest Passage, and recognizes the cultural diversity of a centuries-old quest. Informed by the author’s own adventuring in the Arctic, and illustrated throughout, the book is a colorful, multi-dimensional saga that demolishes myths, exposes pretenders, and celebrates unsung heroes. For international readers, it sets out a new story of Arctic discovery. For Canadians, it brings that story home.

Readers Respond

“A lively and gripping tale of heroism, folly and icy death in the long quest for a Northwest Passage. By highlighting the role of the Inuit, Dene and Métis, Ken McGoogan shows how the most successful white explorers were those who learned from the locals; those who did not often paid a terrible price. In restoring this part of the record to its rightful place, Dead Reckoning reveals deep patterns in four centuries of Arctic history.”
RONALD WRIGHT, author of Stolen Continents and A Short History of Progress

“Finally! A page-turning book about Arctic exploration that puts the heroism and leadership of indigenous people at the centre of the story. A welcome and long overdue account.”
BOB RAE, author of What’s Happened to Politics?

“This is Ken’s best book yet. I am going to post a picture with all of his books that he can show around as he travels. I will even put on a seal-skin vest and tie.”
LOUIE KAMOOKAK, Inuit historian who helped find HMS Erebus

“Our national myth finally recast on our own shores. McGoogan sets the stage with stubborn navy captains who sacrificed their men, Inuit translators who gave warning and succour, and the woman who stole the story. A brilliant reclaiming of history.”
KATHERINE GOVIER, author of The Three Sisters Bar and Hotel

“Ken McGoogan is not just a journalist writing about Canada’s north, he is the ultimate guide to our last frontier. This is his natural habitat—and it shows. A must-read.”
PETER C. NEWMAN, author of Hostages to Fortune and Company of Adventurers

"If there is one book you read on Arctic adventure and the Northwest Passage, make sure it is Ken McGoogan's Dead Reckoning. It is the only book that gives appropriate credit to those who were already there. It is also a riveting, powerful tale of those driven to find the legendary passage, their many follies, their preventable tragedies and their ultimate triumph."
ROY MACGREGOR, author of Canadians: A Portrait of a Country and Its People and Original Highways: Travelling the Great Rivers of Canada

From the Times-Colonist: "This book is a masterpiece, setting the standard for future works on Arctic exploration."

From the Georgia Strait: "Dead Reckoning is an outstanding 21st-century Canadian history that refutes myths about the Franklin expedition promoted by Victorian England, its modern-day media and academic apologists."