Tag Archives: Great Lakes

The riveting account of a 1913 storm that paralyzed the heart of America.

White hurricane : a Great Lakes November gale and America’s deadliest maritime disaster  David G. Brown  Camden, Me. : International Marine/McGraw-Hill, c 2002  Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xvii, 250 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 242-244) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

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Autumn gales have pursued mariners across the Great Lakes for centuries. On Friday, November 7, 1913, those gales captured their prey. After four days of winds up to 90 miles an hour, freezing temperatures, whiteout blizzard conditions, and mountainous seas, 19 ships had been lost, two dozen had been thrown ashore, 238 sailors were dead, and the city of Cleveland was confronting the worst natural disaster in its history.

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In White Hurricane, writer and mariner David G. Brown combines narrative intensity with factual depth to re-create the events of the “perfect storm” that struck America’s heartland. Interweaving human drama, mystery, and historical consequence, Brown has created a vast epic ranging over Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, and Erie and echoing down the decades.

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By the author of Mighty Fitz, the dramatic account of the sinking of the Carl D. Bradley on Lake Michigan.

Wreck of the Carl D. : a true story of loss, survival, and rescue at sea New York : Bloomsbury, 2008 Michael Schumacher Shipwrecks Michigan, Lake, Carl D. Bradley (Ship) Hardcover. 1st. ed. and printing. xvi, 245 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., map ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [229]-234) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG   

On the night of November 18, 1958, the Bradley, a 623-foot limestone carrier, was torn apart during one of the most violent storms in Lake Michigan history, sinking in less than five minutes. Only four members of the crew survived the wreck, two of whom died battling thirty-foot-high waves that night, while the other two barely survived the freezing cold water.

News of the Bradley shocked the residents of Rogers City, Michigan, a hard-scrabble town of 3,800 and home to most of the ship’s crew. Rogers City was dependent on the Bradley, and the ship’s loss nearly crippled the town.

In Wreck of the Carl D., Michael Schumacher reconstructs, in dramatic detail, the tragic accident, the perilous search and rescue mission, and the chilling aftermath for the small Michigan town that many of the victim’s families called home. Publishing on the 50th anniversary of the wreck, Schumacher’s dramatic follow up to Mighty Fitz is a wonderful addition to the literature of the Great Lakes and maritime history.

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A very good anecdotal history that unfortunately leaves out the best evidence.

Egnal is 100% correct in his assumption that the civil war was engineered by the north for economic reasons. Unfortunately he does not fix the blame four square and steadfast on the shoulders of Lincoln who was the hireling of the railroads who were the largest beneficiaries of the westward expansion. Go back to the debates over slavery in the western territories and you will find that the objection was not to slave ownership but was to black presence in the New Jerusalem. Lincoln’s alliance with the abolitionists only came only after he lost the 1858 Senate race to Stephen Douglas and even after winning the presidency he had to “arrange” for the first shots to be fired in much the same way that Hitler would justify his invasion of Poland three-quarters of a century later.

The book is a valuable reference and a good starting point but if you start and finish here you will only have a fraction of the story.

Clash of extremes : the economic origins of the Civil War  Marc Egnal United States ,History ,Civil War, 1861-1865 ,Economic aspects New York : Hill and Wang, c 2009 Hardcover. 1st. ed. and printing. xii, 416 p. : ill. maps ; 24 cm.     Includes bibliographical references (p. 349-398) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text.  VG/VG

Clash of Extremes takes on the reigning orthodoxy that the American Civil War was waged over high moral principles. Marc Egnal contends that economics, more than any other factor, moved the country to war in 1861.

Drawing on a wealth of primary and secondary sources, Egnal shows that between 1820 and 1850, patterns of trade and production drew the North and South together and allowed sectional leaders to broker a series of compromises. After mid-century, however, all that changed as the rise of the Great Lakes economy reoriented Northern trade along east-west lines. Meanwhile, in the South, soil exhaustion, concerns about the country’s westward expansion, and growing ties between the Upper South and the free states led many cotton planters to contemplate secession. The war that ensued was truly a “clash of extremes.”

Sweeping from the 1820s through Reconstruction and filled with colorful portraits of leading individuals, Clash of Extremes emphasizes economics while giving careful consideration to social conflicts, ideology, and the rise of the antislavery movement. The result is a bold reinterpretation that will challenge the way we think about the Civil War.

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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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