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

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3.26  ·  Rating Details  ·  99 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
A bold new account of explorer Henry Hudson and the discovery that changed the course of history.

The year 2009 marks the four-hundredth anniversary of Henry Hudson’s 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
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Kindle Edition
Published (first published September 1st 2009)
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Vicki
I tried and tried, because I knew that I'd be blacklisting myself from ever winning another first reads book by quitting on this one, but I am throwing in the towel. On the one hand I can truly appreciate the research that Hunter did for this book, but on the other hand, part of being a good writer is parsing your research, packaging it in a way that is useful and interesting, and knowing which bits don't add value. Hunter couldn't let go of any single fact, even if it didn't advance the narrati ...more
Heather
There are a lot of fascinating little tidbits in this book, but it took me awhile to work through it. I think this is because I was so unfamiliar with the shipping terms and because of the sheer amount of names and places that were thrown out rapid-fire by the author that I had so little previous knowledge. Occasionally there were really great, vivid moments that the author was able to bring to life, like the ultimate mutiny against Hudson, but all too often those moments were over quickly and I ...more
Noah Hickman
Jun 06, 2016 Noah Hickman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about Henry Hudson traveling west but then discovers the Hudson River that is a river named after him. The book was okay and it just met my expectations and was pretty well-researched. This book told me a lot of facts about Henry Hudson and all the places he traveled. The Hudson River changed and redrew the new world (U.S.A) and discovered new places like the Hudson Bay. Yep not only the Hudson River but the Hudson Bay. The facts however did not outweigh the propaganda and were pret ...more
Ken
Jan 13, 2014 Ken rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I sure wouldn't have wanted Henry Hudson as an employee -- or a boss for that matter. He managed to disregard his explicit sailing instructions from the Dutch East India Company, hijack the company ship and crew and sail to North America in search of the nonexisting easy northwest passage to the orient. It was a little more complicated than that and he faced a nearly mutinous crew most of the time. He was English and the crew was Dutch and they barely understood each other. They managed to disco ...more
Theresa
Oct 30, 2009 Theresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in non-fiction, history, exploration
Recommended to Theresa by: first-reads
Shelves: first-reads
Henry Hudson was was hired by the Dutch Trading Company in 1609 to find a northeastern passage around Russia to more easily access China. Hudson started his voyage aboard the Half Moon with a mixture of English and Dutch crewmen. Part way into his voyage, he decided to turn his ship around and go west to America where he would discover the Hudson River and other uncharted territories. Hudson found himself with his hands full, wondering if there was mutiny brewing and also wondering how he would ...more
Peter Hayashi
The author took on a formidable task in writing this book. Not only did he have to explain the seemingly inexplicable, i.e. why Henry Hudson went west to look for the Northwest passage after only briefly searching for a passage where his contract stipulated - the Northeast. Furthermore, the historical record upon which Mr. Hunter relied was very sparse with almost nothing known of Henry Hudson generally, but little in the way of primary sources for this journey. Given these constraints, I think ...more
Vicki
Sep 01, 2009 Vicki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, first-reads
This was an interesting book. I wasn't familiar, before I read it, with the story of Henry Hudson, and I wasn't disappointed with this narrative. The book itself was easy to read, with many things explained for the modern reader's benefit (though sometimes references to modern times and things jerked me out of the feeling of Henry Hudson's time period). Overall, I was pleased with the book.

There were times, though, when the book seemed to get bogged down with almost irrelevant details. Large sec
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William Smith
Mar 18, 2010 William Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This first book-length history of the 1609 adventure, four centuries after the event, re-creates the espionage, economics and politics of an age when discoveries in the New World on the American continent were the passion and obsession of old world merchants, politicians and adventurers alike.

Hunter combines his navigational, research and narrative skills to produce a work that is long on new details of this complex voyage, based on many primary source records, yet moves through the human story
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Anthony
Jan 21, 2010 Anthony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
In Half Moon: Henry Hudson and the Voyage that Redrew the Map of the New World , author Douglas Hunter richly details Henry Hudson’s third and penultimate voyage of discovery, the 1609 expedition aboard the Half Moon.

In the first several chapters, Hunter sets the stage for the Half Moon expedition by describing the explorers, voyages, financiers, and financial interests that shaped the maritime geopolitical landscape in the early 17th century. We see how Hudson, an Englishman, was commissioned
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Bruce
Aug 22, 2009 Bruce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an easily read narrative history with Henry Hudson's 1609 voyage in the HALF MOON as the common thread. Incidents of discovery occurring before 1492 are touched upon. Though much of the work deals with the 1609 voyage, the explorations and works of many others are covered. These is some speculation regarding who was first where and it is well known that politics in Europe impelled events in exploration. Many of the financial instruments of today (including trading shares, futures contrac ...more
Cecelia
Sep 28, 2009 Cecelia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Half Moon: Henry Hudson and the Voyage That Redrew the Map of the New World is rather self-explanatory. It’s about Henry Hudson’s 1609 voyage – the one during which he hijacked his Dutch-sponsored ship and instead of sailing to Russia, went to North America and ‘discovered’ and mapped the Chesapeake Bay and the Hudson River.

I don’t think I can offer much more in the way of ‘summary’ than the product description - it really does the book justice. All that’s left is to say what I liked and why, an
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Mike
Feb 14, 2012 Mike rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, exploration
Just in time for the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s discovery of the Hudson River, Half Moon: Henry Hudson and the Voyage that Redrew the Map of the New World tells the story of Hudson’s second to last voyage on which he discovered the river that would one day bear his name. Hudson had been retained by the Dutch East India Company to find a passage to the Orient across the top of Asia. Hudson was mildly certain this could not be done, so after a short attempt to round the top of Russia he s ...more
Heather
Before I read this book I thought I knew about Henry Hudson. I would have told you he was an Englishman living in Netherlands who was hired by the Dutch East India Company to find a northwest passage to China. Actually, he never spent much time in Amsterdam, he was hired to assess a northeast route, hijacked his own ship, and took it thousands of miles off course. Obviously I needed to read this book.
-Hunter wove a fascinating and incredibly detailed narrative about Hudson's Halfmoon voyage as w
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Joanne
This is a historical account of Henry Hudson's 1609 voyage. He was commissioned by the Dutch East India Company to sail east from Holland to find an easier passage to China. After a somewhat half-hearted attempt at that, he essentially hijacked the ship by sailing west to North America. The author has done extensive research on this voyage and the many personalities involved. I learned a lot about this period in history. However, for the first time since college, I had to carry around a dictiona ...more
Marian
Nov 04, 2009 Marian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Douglas Hunter, in the scholarly book, Half Moon, Bloomsbury Press 2009, digs deep into the very scanty records of the time period to detail the river voyage, the coastal search, and the subsequent denouement. There probably really was no immediate conclusion to the voyage if I read Hunter correctly. The author ties together intriguing stories of what Hudson and his men saw of the land, of the bays, of the rivers, of the weather, and of the native peoples. He includes detailed descriptions of th ...more
Jonathan
Aug 30, 2009 Jonathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the read.

I think, though, the writing became weighed down by details in some sections of the book. Part of that is my fault, my own ignorance of certain terms and my own inability to track with the author. However I think the narrative suffered, in places, because the details were focused on. But the several occurrences of this defect did manifest his pursuit of a well-researched book, which I think takes precedence in non-fiction work.

En total the book was a fascinating snapshot, not
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Oscar
Jun 26, 2016 Oscar rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This started out real good. I thought I found a rarity, nonfiction that reads like a novel. As I moved ahead, it started to give too many details for me to read casually. I would have to extend to much effort for a casual read. I did enjoy the first 30 or 40 pages.
John
Aug 28, 2012 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beyond the story of this one voyage, the author provides a very good analysis of the politics of exploration in the Age of Discovery, the initial relationship with the indigenous peoples, the commercial impetus of exploration, the attitudes and positions of the colonizing powers, the significant danger from ones own crew as well as the elements of nature faced in the New World.

The title voyage in and of itself was not that dramatic or exciting, but the author expands the story by explaining the
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Linda
Sep 28, 2009 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I won this book through the First Reads program through goodreads.com. I was excited to read it and currently am, but I have not enjoyed it as much as I had hoped. I am finding that the sequences are jumping around quite a bit (from one exploration to another) and sometimes he appears to magically appear in a new location with no indication of how he got there. I understand that there are a lot of details missing from the expedition, but I think the massive amounts of details we have about one p ...more
Kathy
Mar 06, 2010 Kathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bill
Recommended to Kathy by: Goodreads
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book from Goodreads! Chapter 21 begins the Hudson River journey and that's when the book became interesting to me. The first half of the book establishes how and why Hudson arrives at the Hudson, so that's important but I found it tedious. I continued on because I learned about navigation, astronomy, tidal estuaries and geopolitics of northeast North America. Among the new-to-me knowledge are:
"memento mori" = symbols of life's fleeting quality used by Hudson River School painters; Hud
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Carrie Comfort
I was really excited to start reading this book, but was disappointed. The author included too much detail and often went off on what I would call unnecessary tangents. The maps scattered throughout were helpful and a great reference tool while reading along and trying to follow where Hudson was. I didn't get the idea that Hudson was the central focus of this book as his name was buried with the authors writing about every other person involved with the voyage. Quite frankly, I was bored through ...more
Jc
Mar 05, 2010 Jc rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A well-written look at the known voyages of Henry Hudson. There is much more to this story than you thought you learned back in 3rd-4th grade. The author has a good sense of what life on these journeys must have been like, and he works hard to clarify some of the ambiguities that surround Hudson's tale. If you think you know all about the age of exploration, give this book a try -- you may be surprised how fun your voyage will be. Besides, it mentions my name, John Hudson, on the VERY FIRST PAGE ...more
Ghoule
Sep 24, 2011 Ghoule rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
D'autres lecteurs le mentionnent sur Goodreads : le travail de Hunter est colossal, et on devrait le saluer bien bas pour cette réalisation.

Ceci dit, il lui manque, comme à bien d'autres, des qualités cruciales : la concision, la vulgarisation et une écriture fluide, dynamique. Bref, n'est pas narrateur qui veut.

Un livre parfait pour les passionnés de science, de technique, de bateaux et de voyages maritimes qui aiment les récits détaillés jusqu'aux moindres faits. Pour les autres, il y a de m
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L. (Climbing Mt. TBR one page at a time)
A little too dry for me.
Giselle
Oct 25, 2009 Giselle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: non-fiction history lovers
Recommended to Giselle by: goodreads first-reads
Shelves: first-reads
Henry Hudson is a man mostly forgotten by the history books. People know his Bay and his River, but how many know the man himself disappeared during one of his voyages to find the Northwest Passage? This is why I was thrilled to win this through goodreads first-reads! I feel I learned a lot from this book. I knew that Hudson was cast adrift, but was unaware of many of the details regarding this trip. This a particularly good and informative read. Both a surprising gem of exploration and biograph ...more
Kimberly
Dec 11, 2010 Kimberly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lt-giveaway, history
I received this book as an ARC through LibraryThing. Personally I didn't have much knowledge of Hudson's journeys beyond the basics, so I was glad to learn more. Half Moon sheds light on the political and cultural aspects of 17th C Europe, and why the desire for exploration and colonization were so important. This book was easy to read, informative, and enjoyable. I would recommend it to people interested in the era of exploration and colonization in North America.
Jamie
Wow, it feels like an early Christmas...another GoodReads giveaway win! Perfect for a history nerd like me.

-Update-
I'm sure this book would be great, if I was doing research for a college paper and needed some specific information. However, as a non-fiction leisure read, there was just too much information thrown at you. With all the names, dates, plus the author going on generally irrelevant tangents left and right, it was hard to follow.
Michelle
I'm a First Reads winner!!!

Why this book deserves more stars: It is so well researched! Incredible detail, comprehensive, the author shows a great love and respect for the subject. Great for history buffs.

Why this book deserves less stars: This isn't the story of just Henry Hudson... it's the story of anyone and anything related, even remotely, to Henry Hundson and the time period in and about the era in which he lived. Need I say more?
Timothy Griffin
Oct 14, 2011 Timothy Griffin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an interesting and very well-written book, nominally focused on Henry Hudson's voyage aboard the Half Moon in the early 1600s. The book actually covers quite a bit more ground than just this voyage, and it weaves a compelling narrative around all of Hudson's voyages, as well as the explorations of others around the areas of what are now New England and Eastern Canada. A good read.
Tim Brown
Jun 06, 2011 Tim Brown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun read with lots of information that was new to me about Hudson, 17th century exploration, and New York area geography and history. Interesting that Hudson's voyage in which he discovered the Hudson River was made in complete defiance of his Dutch sponsors, who expected him to locate a northeast passage to Asia over Russia, while he sailed northwest to find a passage through North America.
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I didn't write the climbing book, and a number of other books I've authored or coauthored aren't showing. Go to my website for now to learn more.
In addition to being a writer and graphic artist, I am a doctoral candidate in history at Toronto's York University. In 2012 I was named one of Canada's Vanier Scholars and the recipient of the William E. Taylor Fellowship as Canada's outstanding doctoral
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