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With Dead Reckoning: The Untold Story of the Northwest Passage (HarperCollins Canada, 2017), 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 the book 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 voyages and researches 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.
(The image above is from 1999: In Gjoa Haven, Cameron Treleaven, Ken McGoogan and Louie Kamookak get set to cross Rae Strait in Louie's boat.) 


“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 (2017).


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."

From CBC-Radio / Victoria: Indigenous explorers in Ken McGoogan's new book
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Before turning mainly to books about arctic exploration and Canadian history, Ken McGoogan worked for two decades as a journalist at major dailies in Toronto, Calgary, and Montreal. He teaches creative nonfiction writing through the University of Toronto and in the MFA program at King’s College in Halifax. Ken served as chair of the Public Lending Right Commission, has written recently for Canada’s History, Canadian Geographic, and Maclean’s, and sails with Adventure Canada as a resource historian. Based in Toronto, he has given talks and presentations across Canada, from Dawson City to Dartmouth, and in places as different as Edinburgh, Melbourne, and Hobart.