Discovering Nothing

In Pursuit of an Elusive Northwest Passage

By (author) David L. Nicandri
Categories: Historical geography, History: specific events and topics, History, History and Archaeology
Publisher: UBC Press
Hardcover : 9780774868877, 322 pages, June 2024


The many attempts by navigators to find a Northwest Passage via its Pacific portal all ended in failure; however, their discoveries spurred expansionist developments that would forever alter the landscape of North America. In Discovering Nothing, David L. Nicandri maps a cast of geographic visionaries and practical explorers as they promoted or sought a workable commercial route linking the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic. The discovery of the legendary northern passage proved elusive, but the equivalent land bridges that were built in the form of two transcontinental railroads changed the futures of Canada and the United States. Drawing from close readings of explorers’ personal journals, Nicandri provides readers a detailed, engaging, and multifaceted investigation into the many players and failed enterprises at the core of this search, beginning in the eighteenth century through to today — and to the unexpected impact of climate change on this fabled passage.