For famous heroes, Act II is where things usually fall apart
- Last Updated: 11:36 PM, September 1, 2012
- Posted: 10:59 PM, August 25, 2012
After the Fact
The Surprising Fates of American History’s Heroes, Villains, and Supporting Characters
by Owen J. Hurd
These are the stories of what happens after the credits roll.
History’s famous heroes and heroines have been chronicled ad nauseam for their famous deeds, but a new book “After the Fact” sets a new focus on the less-known part of their lives: the denouements.
“After all,” writes author Owen Hurd, “famous people don’t stop living after they’ve achieved their greatest triumph or committed their most notorious crimes.”
Some of the most fascinating after-stories from the book include:
Hudson River, Hudson County, Henry Hudson Bridge — the tri-state area is filled with reminders of the famed English sea explorer. Henry Hudson arrived in North America in 1609, mapping out significant portions of New England and venturing along the Hudson River aboard his ship, the Discovery.
But how much does the average New Yorker know about his death?
Hudson returned to the New World in 1610, in search of the fabled Northwest Passage to the Pacific. But when his ship returned to England in 1611, it arrived sans Hudson. Only eight of the original 24 members were aboard, and the ship was bloodstained. There was a mutiny.
It all started with a simple vote: return home or stay through winter. The crew voted (against Hudson) to return home. But food became scarce and the winter was harsher than they could have foreseen.
Hudson was charged with “inconsistent and deceptive” manner of doling out rations. Members of his crew became so hungry and outraged that they revolted. Hudson and eight others, including his teenage son, were placed in a small canoe-shaped boat in the frigid northern waters of the Arctic Circle, never to be seen again.
The most famous Native American princess earned her place in history when she saved Captain John Smith’s life in 1607 by placing her head above his to stop her tribe from beating him to death, according to Smith’s autobiography.
But in the after-tale, Pocahontas ended her life neither a Native American nor a princess.
In 1613 — just six years after saving Smith’s life — Pocahontas was kidnapped by the English, who tried to use her as a bargaining chip to get back several English prisoners held hostage by her tribe.
But her father wasn’t a negotiating man. He called the bluff, and in response, Pocahontas cut all ties, spent the rest of her life among the English, and married John Rolfe, changing her name to Rebecca.Follow @NYPostOpinion