Ken McGoogan



 Praise for Fatal Passage: 

“A passionately and immaculately researched book. A sort of Arctic whodunnit” 

Beryl Bainbridge 

“McGoogan tells a riveting story -- backed by solid research -- that illuminates a fascinating chapter in the annals of Arctic exploration” 

The Wall Street Journal 

“In Ken McGoogan’s artful telling, John Rae emerges from the shadows to take his place among the most intriguing of the 19th century arctic explorers. This is delightful reading.”

Andrea Barrett 

Praise for Race to the Polar Sea: 

“Ken McGoogan’s readable biography ensures Kane’s place in the pantheon of polar explorers. Highly recommended.” 

Library Journal Review – Starred 


HarperCollins Canada 2017 

Dead Reckoning


 The Untold Story of the Northwest Passage


 In this magnificent book, Ken McGoogan weaves past and present, the personal and the historical, the scientific and the romantic, into a seamless tale. 

In Dead Reckoning, McGoogan reaches back to the 17thC when Arctic adventurers relied largely on speed x time to calculate their location. He conveys the sweep and splendour of Arctic history through accounts of the explorers, the fur traders, and above all the indigenous citizens who have been omitted from previous exploration narratives. 

Among them is Akaitcho, the Yellowknife chieftain who rescued John Franklin after he lost more than half his men on his first overland expedition. We also meet Tookoolito, an Inuk woman brought to England, who learned English and assisted Charles Francis Hall. There is Hans Hendrik, an Inuk who helped Philadelphia doctor Elisha Kent Kane. 

Along the way, McGoogan explodes some myths, notably the legend of Sir John Franklin’s heroism. McGoogan asserts that he was a hapless bungler who presided over the worst disaster is the history of Arctic exploration and that his prominence is due to a master spin-doctor—his wife Jane Franklin. The story of Franklin will continue today with the discovery of Franklin’s two lost ships, the Erebus and the Terror


Ken McGoogan is possibly the only historian of the Arctic who has made more than nine trips to the region, including journeys through the fabled Northwest Passage. His dozen published books include four biographies of Arctic explorers. He has won such coveted prizes as: the Pierre Berton Award for History, the University of British Columbia Medal for Canadian Biography, the Canadian Authors’ Association History Award, the Writers’ Trust of Canada Drainie-Taylor Biography Prize, and an American Christopher Award.