Jolliet and Marquette

A New History of the 1673 Expedition
Author: Mark Walczynski
Broadening our view of the explorers, their travels, and their time
Cloth – $125
Paper – $24.95
eBook – $14.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 08/01/2023
Cloth: 08/01/2023
Series: 3 Fields Books
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About the Book

Often viewed in isolation, the Jolliet and Marquette expedition in fact took place against a sprawling backdrop that encompassed everything from ancient Native American cities to French colonial machinations. Mark Walczynski draws on a wealth of original research to place the explorers and their journey within seventeenth-century North America. His account takes readers among the region’s diverse Native American peoples and into a vanished natural world of treacherous waterways and native flora and fauna. Walczynski also charts the little-known exploits of the French Canadian officials, explorers, traders, soldiers, and missionaries who created the political and religious environment that formed Jolliet and Marquette and shaped European colonization of the heartland.

A multifaceted voyage into the past, Jolliet and Marquette expands and updates the oft-told story of a pivotal event in North American history.

About the Author

Mark Walczynski is a retired faculty member at Illinois Valley Community College and the Park Historian for the Starved Rock Foundation. He is the author of The History of Starved Rock.


"Jolliet and Marquette is an engrossing history book that covers an early European expedition into lands unfamiliar to its explorers; it is respectful in analyzing the not yet colonized cultures they encountered." --Foreword Reviews

"Absorbing." --Christian Science Monitor

"Despite better organization and greater success by Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville and others along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana, the colony never achieved its potential. Walczynski's lucid account of French activities in North America helps explain why." --A Sea of Words


“An authoritative and long-overdue treatment of the historic Jolliet-Marquette voyage of discovery. Walczynski reaffirms and explains what is good in past scholarship while demonstrating where the established histories went off the track. The guiding of the reader up the Illinois River on Marquette and Jolliet’s return trip is unparalleled and priceless.”--Michael McCafferty, author of Native American Place-Names of Indiana

“This is a good read, and also a handy one in the 'old school' form of reliable regional history. The author writes about much more than the voyage. He contextualizes and discusses the earliest years of French interest in establishing a colony, and delves into the political mechanisms that drove early French colonial settlement in the Midwest. Walczynski also provides a welcome detailed description of the Illinois River Valley as it was during the seventeenth century.”--Robert F. Mazrim, author of At Home in the Illinois Country: French Colonial Domestic Site Archaeology in the Midwest, 1730–1800