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Mighty Fitz: The Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgeraldby Michael Schumacher
Synopses & Reviews
Thirty years after the most legendary shipwreck on Americas inland waters. Michael Schumacher examines the productive life and untimely demise of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
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 Fitzs 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 wouldnt find safe harbor at Whitefish Point, Michigan. Last word from the ships 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 Superiors 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.
"In honor of the 30th anniversary of the sinking of the Great Lakes ore carrier Edmund Fitzgerald, an event given lasting fame by singer Gordon Lightfoot's 'The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,' Schumacher recreates both the ship's final trip and the controversies that later eddied about the wreck's cause and the ultimate disposition of ship relics. Schumacher, biographer of Eric Clapton, Francis Ford Coppola and Allen Ginsberg, has also produced 25 documentaries about Great Lakes shipwrecks — an indication of his passion. Even as he dissects the rancorous disputes that arose among family members of the dead, historians and others seeking to either memorialize or exploit the shipwreck, Schumacher never fails to bring a sympathetic and knowledgeable view of the story, as well as great respect to the memory of the 29 crew members who died. Although some of the literary devices he employs are formulaic — the high school student being called from class to learn of the death of her father, for example — Schumacher, aided by his encyclopedic knowledge of Great Lakes shipwrecks and his abiding interest in telling an accurate, unsensationalized story makes them work in a rewarding narrative." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Book News Annotation:
The Edmund Fitzgerald was one of the largest ships to sail the Great Lakes, and its sinking continues to be the lakes' biggest mystery. When the ore carrier dropped to the bottom of Lake Superior during a storm on the evening of Nov. 10, 1975, no mayday had been transmitted and no lifeboats launched; there were no survivors. In his history of the ship and its fate, Schumacher--a Wisconsin writer who is the biographer of Allen Ginsberg, Eric Clapton, and others--gives the story an update by tracing the controversy that resulted when the families of the 29 drowned crew members commissioned a diver to cut the ship's bell from the wreck and replace it with a replica bearing the victims' names. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Thirty years after the most legendary shipwreck on America's inland waters, Schumacher examines the productive life and untimely demise of the "Edmund Fitzgerald," a massive ore carrier.
About the Author
Michael Schumacher is the author of six books. He has written 25 documentaries on Great Lakes shipwrecks, including three about the Edmund Fitzgerald
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