Thirty years after the most legendary shipwreck on America’s inland waters. Michael Schumacher examines the productive life and untimely demise of the Edmund Fitzgerald.


Shipwrecks in Whitefish Bay

from The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

Does any one know where the love of God goes
when the waves turn the minutes to hours?
The searchers all say they’d have made Whitefish Bay
if they’d put fifteen more miles behind ‘er.
They might have split up or they might have capsized;
they may have broke deep and took water.
And all that remains is the faces and the names
of the wives and the sons and the daughters.

Gordon Lightfoot

Mighty Fitz : the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald      Michael Schumacher  Shipwrecks Superior, Lake, Edmund Fitzgerald (Ship)  New York : Bloomsbury Pub. : Distributed to the trade by Holtzbrinck, 2005 Hardcover.     1st U.S. ed., later printing. 243 p. ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [213]-231) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text.  VG/VG

The disappearance of the Edmund Fitzgerald remains one of the great unsolved mysteries in maritime history. The specifics of what happened to the “Mighty Fitz” in the early hours of November 10, 1975, will never be known.

What we do know: The Edmund Fitzgerald, a massive ore carrier, had been fighting its way through a pounding November storm on Lake Superior. She was losing ground—the Fitz’s radar was out, and she had taken on water in the midst of gale-force winds and mountainous seas—but there was no reason to think she wouldn’t find safe harbor at Whitefish Point, Michigan.

Last word from the ship’s captain: “We are holding our own.” Suddenly the ship disappeared from radar. By all indications, the 29-man crew had no idea they were in mortal danger, and they nosedived to Lake Superior’s bottom before they could call for help. A massive search ensued but failed to find a single survivor.

Michael Schumacher relays in vivid detail the story of the Edmund Fitzgerald, its many productive years on the waters of the Great Lakes, its tragic demise, the search effort and investigation, as well as the speculation and the controversy that followed in the wake of the disaster.

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