On November 10, 1975, SS Edmund Fitzgerald, a giant freighter, sank with its entire crew of 29 aboard, in one of the most violent storms ever witnessed on Lake Superior. In 29 Missing, Kantar tells the "Fitz's" story from the christening in 1958 as the largest ship on the Great Lakes to the expedition in 1995 to recover the ship's bell in what proved to be a moving memorial to the lost crew. Using information from government investigative reports, the book provides a dramatic hour-by-hour account of what transpired during that terrible voyage, including dialogue from actual radio transmissions between the Fitzgerald and the Arthur Anderson, the freighter that followed behind the Fitz.
In his passionate retelling of the story, designed primarily for young adults, Kantar provides the facts leading up to the disappearance, detailing the subsequent expeditions to the wreck site as well as the leading theories about the sinking that have been debated by maritime experts.
Michigan’s "storms of November" are famous in song, lore, and legend and have taken a tragic toll, breaking the hulls of many ships and sending them to cold, dark, and silent graves on the bottoms of the Great Lakes. On November 18, 1958, when the limestone carrier Carl D. Bradley broke up during a raging storm on Lake Michigan, it became the largest ship in Great Lakes' history to vanish beneath storm-tossed waves. Along with the Bradley, thirty-three crew members perished. Most of the casualties hailed from the little harbor town of Rogers City, Michigan, a community that was stung with grief when, in an instant, twenty-three women became widows and fifty- three children were left fatherless. Nevertheless, this is also a story of survival, as it recounts the tale of two of the ship’s crew, whose fifteen-hour ordeal on a life raft, in gale-force winds and 25 foot waves, is a remarkable story of endurance and tenacity.
Written in a style that is equally appealing to young adults and adult readers, Black November is a tale of adventure, courage, heroism, and tragedy. Kantar, the author of 29 Missing, a book about the loss of the great lakes freighter the Edmund Fitzgerald, has once again crafted a dramatic narrative that is both informative and compelling. Although the Carl D. Bradley has been called "the ship that time forgot," Black November recalls that tragic day nearly fifty years ago and is a moving tribute to the ship and its crew.
The greatest shipwreck disaster in the history of the Cayman Islands
The story has been passed through generations for more than two centuries. Details vary depending on who is doing the telling, but all refer to this momentous maritime event as the Wreck of the Ten Sail. Sometimes misunderstood as the loss of a single ship, it was in fact the wreck of ten vessels at once, comprising one of the most dramatic maritime disasters in all of Caribbean naval history. Surviving historical documents and the remains of the wrecked ships in the sea confirm that the narrative is more than folklore. It is a legend based on a historical event in which HMS Convert, formerly L’Inconstante, a recent prize from the French, and 9 of her 58-ship merchant convoy sailing from Jamaica to Britain, wrecked on the jagged eastern reefs of Grand Cayman in 1794.
The incident has historical significance far beyond the boundaries of the Cayman Islands. It is tied to British and French history during the French Revolution, when these and other European nations were competing for military and commercial dominance around the globe. The Wreck of the Ten Sail attests to the worldwide distribution of European war and trade at the close of the eighteenth century.
In Cayman’s 1794 Wreck of the Ten Sail: Peace, War, and Peril in the Caribbean, Margaret E. Leshikar-Denton focuses on the ships, the people, and the wreck itself to define their place in Caymanian, Caribbean, and European history. This well-researched volume weaves together rich oral folklore accounts, invaluable supporting documents found in archives in the United Kingdom, Jamaica, and France, and tangible evidence of the disaster from archaeological sites on the reefs of the East End.
On the morning of May 7, 1965, the American freighter Cedarville collided with the Norwegian vessel Topdalsfjord in heavy fog in the Straits of Mackinac. Ultimately, ten crew members of the Cedarville died and a legal battle ensued implicating U.S. Steel---the company that owned the Cedarville---in the chain of events leading to the tragedy.
The Cedarville Conspiracy is the story of that doomed ship and its crew. It is also the first Great Lakes history to expose the heroism, villainy, courage, and confusion surrounding the Cedarville disaster.
In atmospheric, cinematic style, L. Stephen Cox's gripping page-turner dramatizes the events surrounding the collision between the Norwegian and American freighters. As the mortally wounded Cedarville began to list and sink, U.S. Steel refused to allow the crew to escape to safety, while the captain secretly donned his life jacket and abandoned the sinking ship. Ten seamen died in the frigid waters that morning as the captain and survivors swam to safety.
Researching the story, author L. Stephen Cox interviewed the surviving crew and their rescuers and attorneys, examined more than 20,000 pages of Coast Guard reports, and discovered deposition transcripts and other documentary evidence that detailed the deterioration of the ship, the captain's disregard of Great Lakes navigational rules, the company's participation in the decision to confine the men aboard the sinking vessel, and the subsequent efforts by U.S. Steel to manipulate the evidence.
This is the harrowing story of one of the worst shipwrecks in Great Lakes history. In the early morning hours of November 29, 1966, the S.S. Daniel J. Morrell was caught in a deadly storm on Lake Huron. Waves higher than the ship crested over it, and winds exceeding sixty miles per hour whipped at its hull, splitting the 603-foot freighter into two giant pieces. Amazingly, after the bow went down, the stern blindly powered itself through the stormy seas for another five miles! Twenty-eight men drowned in the icy waters of Lake Huron, but one sailor—26-year-old Dennis Hale—miraculously survived the treacherous storm. Wearing only boxer shorts, a lifejacket, and a pea coat, Hale clung to a life raft in near-freezing temperatures for 38 hours until he was rescued late in the afternoon of the following day. Three of his fellow crewmates died in his raft.
In Deadly Voyage, Andrew Kantar recounts this tale of tragedy and triumph on Lake Huron. Informed by meticulous research and the eyewitness details provided by Hale, and illustrated with photographs from the Coast Guard search and rescue operation, Kantar depicts one of the most tragic shipwrecks in Great Lakes history.
Stories of disasters at sea, whether about Roman triremes, the treasure fleet of the Spanish Main, or great transatlantic ocean liners, fire the imagination as little else can. From the historical sinkings of the Titanic and the Lusitania to the recent capsizing of a Mediterranean cruise ship, the study of shipwrecks also makes for a new and very different understanding of world history. A History of the World in Sixteen Shipwrecks explores the age-old, immensely hazardous, persistently romantic, and ongoing process of moving people and goods across the seven seas. In recounting the stories of ships and the people who made and sailed them, from the earliest craft plying the ancient Nile to the Exxon Valdez, Stewart Gordon argues that the gradual integration of mainly local and separate maritime domains into fewer, larger, and more interdependent regions offers a unique perspective on world history. Gordon draws a number of provocative conclusions from his study, among them that the European “Age of Exploration” as a singular event is simply a myth: over the millennia, many cultures, east and west, have explored far-flung maritime worlds, and technologies of shipbuilding and navigation have been among the main drivers of science and exploration throughout history. In a series of compelling narratives, A History of the World in Sixteen Shipwrecks shows that the development of institutions and technologies that made the terrifying oceans familiar and turned unknown seas into well-traveled sea-lanes matters profoundly in our modern world.
A new take on a famous collection of shipwreck narratives that places them at the center of resistance to colonialism.
Shipwreck, death, and survival; terror, hunger, and salvation-these are the experiences of the passengers onboard merchant Portuguese ships sailing the high seas in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. And this is the stuff of the stories committed to print by survivors upon their return to the homeland. These Portuguese shipwreck narratives, rescued for all time in the eighteenth century by Bernardo Gomes de Brito in HistÃ³ria TrÃ¡gico-MarÃtima (1735-36), or The Tragic History of the Sea, are the subject of Manifest Perdition, a work that reveals their important-and until now, largely ignored-place in literary history.
In this book we see how the dramatic, compelling, and often gory accounts of shipwreck, depicting a world out of control, challenge state-sponsored versions of events in the prevailing historiographic culture. Written during the heyday of Iberian maritime expansion and colonialism, the shipwreck narrative builds an alternative historical record to the vision and reality of empire elaborated by the official chroniclers of the realm. Manifest Perdition presents both theoretical considerations this genre and close readings of several texts, readings that disclose a poetics of the shipwreck text, of how survivors characteristically yet multifariously narrated their world.
Included is a study of the medieval Iberian poetic predecessors of the shipwreck tale, as well as an exploration of the Portuguese Inquisition's attempt to commandeer and steer the reading of the unruly narratives. The book engages issues of literary theory, historiography, and colonialism to portray the Portuguese shipwreck narrative for the first time as both a product of and a resistance to the prolific culture of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century expansionist history.
Josiah Blackmore is associate professor of Portuguese at the University of Toronto. He is the coeditor (with Gregory S. Hutcheson) of Queer Iberia: Sexualities, Cultures, and Crossings from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance (1999) and editor of a new edition of The Tragic History of the Sea by C. R. Boxer (2001).
Two days after Christmas in 1738, a British merchant ship traveling from Rotterdam to Philadelphia grounded in a blizzard on the northern tip of Block Island, twelve miles off the Rhode Island coast. The ship carried emigrants from the Palatinate and its neighboring territories in what is now southwest Germany. The 105 passengers and crew on board—sick, frozen, and starving—were all that remained of the 340 men, women, and children who had left their homeland the previous spring. They now found themselves castaways, on the verge of death, and at the mercy of a community of strangers whose language they did not speak. Shortly after the wreck, rumors began to circulate that the passengers had been mistreated by the ship’s crew and by some of the islanders. The stories persisted, transforming over time as stories do and, in less than a hundred years, two terrifying versions of the event had emerged. In one account, the crew murdered the captain, extorted money from the passengers by prolonging the voyage and withholding food, then abandoned ship. In the other, the islanders lured the ship ashore with a false signal light, then murdered and robbed all on board. Some claimed the ship was set ablaze to hide evidence of these crimes, their stories fueled by reports of a fiery ghost ship first seen drifting in Block Island Sound on the one-year anniversary of the wreck. These tales became known as the legend of the Palatine, the name given to the ship in later years, when its original name had been long forgotten. The flaming apparition was nicknamed the Palatine Light. The eerie phenomenon has been witnessed by hundreds of people over the centuries, and numerous scientific theories have been offered as to its origin. Its continued reappearances, along with the attention of some of nineteenth-century America’s most notable writers—among them Richard Henry Dana Sr., John Greenleaf Whittier, Edward Everett Hale, and Thomas Wentworth Higginson—has helped keep the legend alive. This despite evidence that the vessel, whose actual name was the Princess Augusta, was never abandoned, lured ashore, or destroyed by fire. So how did the rumors begin? What really happened to the Princess Augusta and the passengers she carried on her final, fatal voyage? Through years of painstaking research, Jill Farinelli reconstructs the origins of one of New England’s most chilling maritime mysteries.
The tall ship Sofia sank off New Zealand’s North Island in February 1982, stranding its crew on disabled life rafts for five days. They struggled to survive as any realistic hope of rescue dwindled. Just a few years earlier, Pamela Sisman Bitterman was a naïve swabbie looking for adventure, signing on with a sailing co-operative taking this sixty-year-old, 123-foot, three-masted gaff-topsail schooner around the globe. The aged Baltic trader had been rescued from a wooden boat graveyard in Sweden and reincarnated as a floating commune in the 1960s. By the time Sofia went down, Bitterman had become an able seaman, promoted first to bos’un and then acting first mate, immersing herself in this life of a tall ship sailor, world traveler, and survivor.
First published in 1958, The Salvager is both a narrative history of Great Lakes shipping disasters of 1880–1950 and the life story of Captain Thomas Reid, who operated one of the region’s largest salvaging companies during that era.
The treacherous shoals, unpredictable storms, and sub-zero temperatures of the Great Lakes have always posed special hazards to mariners—particularly before the advent of modern navigational technologies—and offered ample opportunity for an enterprising sailor to build a salvage business up from nothing. Designing much of his equipment himself and honing a keen eye for the risks and rewards of various catastrophes, Captain Reid rose from humble beginnings and developed salvaging into a science. Using the actual records of the Reid Wrecking and Towing Company as well as Reid’s personal logs and letters, Mary Frances Doner deftly tells the stories not only of the maritime disasters and the wrecking adventures that followed, but also of those waiting back on shore for their loved ones to return.
Focusing on an area of coastline particularly known for vessel strandings, this volume includes histories of more than 50 lost vessels; a description of the remains of vessels and wreckage documented during archaeological research; an analysis of shoreline change in the last 150 years; and a model for matching wreckage to lost ships. This book will be of interest to archaeologists, historians, and anyone who loves the Great Lakes.
From the day that French explorer Robert Cavelier de La Salle launched the Griffin in 1679 to the 1975 sinking of the celebrated Edmund Fitzgerald, thousands of commercial ships have sailed on the vast and perilous waters of the Great Lakes. In a harbinger of things to come, on the return leg of its first trip in late summer 1679, the Griffin disappeared and has never been seen again. In the centuries since then, the records show that an alarming number of shipwrecks have occurred on the Great Lakes. If vessels that wrecked but were later repaired and returned to service are included, the number certainly swells into the thousands. Most did not mysteriously vanish like the Griffin. Instead, they suffered the occupational hazards of every lake boat: collisions, groundings, strands, fires, boiler explosions, and capsizes. Many of these disasters took the lives of crews and passengers. The fearsome wrath of the storms that brew over the Great Lakes has challenged and defeated some of the staunchest vessels constructed in the shipyards of port cities along the U.S. and Canadian lakeshores. Here Richard Gebhart tells the tales of some of these ships and their captains and crews, from their launches to their sad demises—or sometimes, their celebrated retirements. This volume is a must-read for anyone intrigued by the maritime history of the Great Lakes.
On October 23, 1918, a storm rose and the Canadian Pacific steamer Princess Sophia ran aground on Vanderbilt Reef, northwest of Juneau, Alaska. Tragically, there were no survivors. The 353 aboard represented a significant cross-section of the population of the Yukon and Alaska, and their loss was a heavy blow to a society that, with the end of the gold rush, was already in decline. This book tells the dramatic stories of many of the passengers, how they had gone to the north, what they did there, and why they were leaving that fall, and sheds light on a little-known aspect of Alaska's history.
Every shipwreck has a story that extends far beyond its tragic end. The dramatic tales of disaster, heroism, and folly become even more compelling when viewed as junction points in history—connecting to stories about the frontier, the environment, immigration, politics, technology, and industry. In Stories from the Wreckage, John Odin Jensen examines a selection of Great Lakes shipwrecks of the wooden age for a deeper dive into this transformative chapter of maritime history. He mines the archeological evidence and historic record to show how their tragic ends fit in with the larger narrative of Midwestern history. Featuring the underwater photography of maritime archeologist Tamara Thomsen, this vibrant volume is a must-have for shipping enthusiasts as well as anyone interested in the power of water to shape history.
Surviving the “Essex” tells the captivating story of a ship’s crew battered by whale attack, broken by four months at sea, and forced—out of necessity—to make meals of their fellow survivors. Exploring the Rashomon-like Essex accounts that complicate and even contradict first mate Owen Chase’s narrative, David O. Dowling examines the vital role of viewpoint in shaping how an event is remembered and delves into the ordeal’s submerged history—the survivors’ lives, ambitions, and motives, their pivotal actions during the desperate moments of the wreck itself, and their will to reconcile those actions in the short- and long-term aftermath of this storied event. Mother of all whale tales, Surviving the “Essex” acts as a sequel to Nathaniel Philbrick’s In the Heart of the Sea, while probing deeper into the nature of trauma and survival accounts, an extreme form of notoriety, and the impact that the story had on Herman Melville and the writing of Moby-Dick.
"Water, water, everywhere . . ." Working with Water, the latest in the popular New Badger History series, teaches young readers about the many ways water has shaped Wisconsin’s history, from glaciers to stewardship. It touches on geography and hydrography; transportation networks of Indians and fur traders; the Erie Canal; shipwrecks, lighthouses, shipping, and shipbuilding; fishing, ricing, "pearling" (clamming), and cranberry cultivation; lumbering, milling, and papermaking; recreation, resorts, tourism, and environmentalism.
The companion Teacher’s Guide and Student Materials engages students in hands-on exploration. It highlights historical processes and encourages multiple learning styles.