Half Moon: Henry Hudson and the Voyage That Redrew the Map of the New World

Half Moon: Henry Hudson and the Voyage That Redrew the Map of the New World

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by Douglas Hunter
     
 

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The year 2009 marks the four-hundredth anniversary of Henry Hudsons discovery of the majestic river that bears his name. Just in time for this milestone, Douglas Hunter, sailor, scholar, and storyteller, has written the first book-length history of the 1609 adventure that put New York on the map.
Hudson was commissioned by the mighty Dutch East India Company to…  See more details below

Overview

The year 2009 marks the four-hundredth anniversary of Henry Hudsons discovery of the majestic river that bears his name. Just in time for this milestone, Douglas Hunter, sailor, scholar, and storyteller, has written the first book-length history of the 1609 adventure that put New York on the map.
Hudson was commissioned by the mighty Dutch East India Company to find a northeastern passage over Russia to the lucrative ports of China. But the inscrutable Hudson, defying his orders, turned his ship around and instead headed west-far west-to the largely unexplored coastline between Spanish Florida and the Grand Banks.
Once there, Hudson began a seemingly aimless cruise-perhaps to conduct an espionage mission for his native England-but eventually dropped anchor off Coney Island. Hudson and his crew were the first Europeans to visit New York in more than eighty years, and soon went off the map into unexplored waters.
Hudsons discoveries reshaped the history of the new world, and laid the foundation for New York to become a global capital. Hunter has shed new light on this rogue voyage with unprecedented research. Painstakingly reconstructing the course of the Half Moon from logbooks and diaries, Hunter offers an entirely new timeline of Hudsons passage based on innovative forensic navigation, as well as original insights into his motivations.
Half Moon offers a rich narrative of adventure and exploration, filled with international intrigue, backstage business drama, and Hudsons own unstoppable urge to discover. This brisk tale re-creates the espionage, economics, and politics that drove men to the edge of the known world and beyond.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Although not the first mariner to explore North America, Henry Hudson (1565-1611) left a powerful legacy, vividly described in this richly detailed biography 400 years after his journey up what became the Hudson River. Canadian historian Hunter (God's Mercies: Rivalry, Betrayal, and the Dream of Discovery) reminds readers that 16th- and 17th-century European entrepreneurs remained obsessed with finding a shortcut to Asia. An experienced English seaman, Hudson was hired by the Dutch East India Company in 1609 to sail east above Russia. Having already failed at that route, Hudson departed with other ideas. He quickly found his way blocked by ice, but instead of returning to Holland sailed west across the Atlantic, eventually stopping near Manhattan and sailing up his eponymous river as far as present-day Albany. Hunter has clearly immersed himself in the period, producing a meticulous account of Hudson's three months in the New World. Readers may prefer to skim precise descriptions of his navigational difficulties, but few will resist the colorful personal conflicts, tortuous politics and alternately friendly and vicious encounters between Europeans and Native Americans. Photos. (Sept.)

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Library Journal
Hunter (God's Mercies: Rivalry, Betrayal, and the Dream of Discovery) presents an exhaustively researched and highly detailed history of the discovery of the Hudson River by English explorer Henry Hudson in 1609. Hunter's sprawling and complicated tale almost overflows with a dizzying array of historical data and a vast cast of characters, yet somehow this potentially unwieldy wealth of information is successfully shaped into a deftly organized and balanced portrait of the unpredictable Hudson, his volatile crew, and their voyage aboard the Dutch ship Half Moon. Complete with mutiny, political maneuvering, spying, and conflict with natives, Hudson's sometimes bloody adventures are full of incident and accident brought to vivid life in Hunter's nuanced prose. VERDICT This work is a somewhat dense and complex historical narrative that is best suited to history buffs and researchers, or patient readers with a strong interest in the early exploration of the Hudson River and of what became the New York City area. Recreational readers may prefer Tom Lewis's The Hudson: A History.—Ingrid Levin, Salve Regina Univ. Lib., Newport, RI
Kirkus Reviews
Canadian sailor and scholar Hunter (God's Mercies: Rivalry, Betrayal, and the Dream of Discovery, 2007, etc.) returns to the subject of British explorer Henry Hudson. The author's previous work addressed Hudson's rivalry with French explorer Samuel de Champlain, but here the focus is on Hudson's 1609 trip to the New World, where he and the crew of the Half Moon charted unexplored coastline from Florida to the Grand Banks off the coast of Newfoundland. Hunter provides valuable insights into the explorer's enigmatic motivations. Why did Hudson-who was commissioned by the Dutch East India Company to find an Artic route to China-venture so far west, conducting a long, wandering sojourn into mysterious and potentially dangerous territory? It's a mystery that has long puzzled historians, but Hunter convincingly argues that Hudson may have been more than a mere employee of the Dutch. He may have also been acting as a spy for business interests in his native England, which had claims on land that Hudson explored and mapped for the first time. Hunter ably chronicles Hudson's daily progress on his voyage-which included conflicts with, and abductions of, Native Americans-and he skillfully establishes the global context, involving Dutch, Spanish, English and French interests. Poring over hydrographic charts and picking through often-sparse historical material, Hunter assembles a comprehensive timeline of the 400-year-old voyage, but his firm grasp of the politics and history of Hudson's time make the book stand out. Insightful look at Hudson, his pivotal achievement and the world events surrounding it. Agent: Sally Harding/The Cooke Agency
From the Publisher

“[Douglas Hunter] is also an experienced sailor, and his observations of nautical life are astute … Behind that, a picture emerges of Hudson as a wily operator who knew what he wanted to find, and where he wanted to go to find it--and wasn't about to tell his merchant backers any more than they needed to know so they would give him a ship. Hunter provides a fine account of Hudson's wheeling and dealing, and the hoodwinking of the Dutch and English backers of his various voyages.” —Boston Globe

“[Hunter's] firm grasp of the politics and history of Hudson's time make the book stand out. Insightful look at Hudson, his pivotal achievement and the world events surrounding it.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Few will resist the colorful personal conflicts, tortuous politics and alternately friendly and vicious encounters between Europeans and Native Americans.” —Publishers Weekly

“Hunter delivers a vivid rendition of Hudson's entrance into New York Bay, ascent to the future site of Albany, and peaceful and violent encounters with the native peoples. Fans of the era of discovery will delight in Hunter's history of Hudson's famed expedition.” —Booklist

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781608191765
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
09/08/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
942,974
File size:
11 MB
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This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Douglas Hunter is the author of the acclaimed Gods Mercies: Rivalry, Betrayal, and the Dream of Discovery, named a finalist for the 2008 Governor Generals Literary Award for nonfiction in Canada. He lives with his wife and family in Port McNicoll, Ontario. Hunter is also an experienced sailor and coauthor of Yacht Design Explained.
Douglas Hunter is the author of the acclaimed Gods Mercies: Rivalry, Betrayal, and the Dream of Discovery, named a finalist for the 2008 Governor Generals Literary Award for nonfiction in Canada. He lives with his wife and family in Port McNicoll, Ontario. Hunter is also an experienced sailor and coauthor of Yacht Design Explained.

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