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Voyages of Delusion: The Quest for the Northwest Passageby Glyndwr Williams
Synopses & Reviews
In this gripping work of narrative history, Williams describes the adventures and mishaps of the misguided expeditions of the Age of Reason--the 18th century--in search of the "maritime philosopher's stone." 51 illustrations.
"The search for a sea route through America, a Northwest Passage, had enticed seamen as early as the 16th century. By the 18th century, with improvements in instruments and charts, expeditions to find the Northwest Passage multiplied. The first explorers focused on the Hudson Bay area, pushing up rivers and bays in search of a fabled sea which would them lead to the Pacific Ocean and the fabled riches of the Orient. Williams has written a marvelous tale of wildly optimistic seamen who froze, starved, endured storms and often died in the vain search for a fantasy—a Northwest Passage. Late in the 18th century, sea captains attempted to locate a passage from the Pacific side of the continent. After exploring the Pacific coast, Captain George Vancouver concluded that there was no Northwest Passage—it was a hoax. In this well researched history of courageous seamen, Williams has written a gripping tale of valiant men who were out on a fool's errand. Readers can only admire their courage." Reviewed by Andrew Witmer, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)
Includes bibliographical references (p. -453) and index.
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