The Misunderstood Mission of Jean Nicolet: Uncovering the Story of the 1634 Journey

By Patrick J. Jung

Hardcover: $28.95

ISBN: 978-0-87020-879-9

256 pages, 26 b&w photos, 6 x 9


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For years, schoolchildren heard the story of Jean
Nicolet's arrival in Wisconsin. But the popularized
image of the hapless explorer landing with billowing
robe and guns blazing, supposedly believing himself to
have found a passage to China, is based on scant evidence—
a false narrative perpetuated by fanciful artists’
renditions and repetition.

In more recent decades, historians have pieced together
a story that is not only more plausible but more
complicated and interesting. Patrick Jung synthesizes
the research about Nicolet and his superior Samuel de
Champlain, whose diplomatic goals in the region are
crucial to understanding this much misunderstood
journey across the Great Lakes. Additionally, historical
details about Franco-Indian relations and the search
for the Northwest Passage provide a framework for
understanding Nicolet’s famed mission.

Patrick J. Jung is a professor at the Milwaukee School of Engineering with a PhD in history and anthropology. He has published three books: The Black Hawk War of 1832; The Nicolet Corrigenda: New France Revisited with coauthor Nancy Oestreich Lurie; and The Battle of Wisconsin Heights: Thunder on the Wisconsin.