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Great Lakes Shipwrecks and Survivals [Paperback]

By William Ratigan (Author) & Reynold H. Weidenaar (Illustrator)
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Item description for Great Lakes Shipwrecks and Survivals by William Ratigan & Reynold H. Weidenaar...

A look at the most spectacular shipwrecks and most incredible survivals in history recreates scenes of high courage and panic as it describes, among others, the three greatest killer storms in modern times.

Publishers Description
In this breathtaking chronicle of the most spectacular shipwrecks and survivals on the Great Lakes, William Ratigan re-creates vivid scenes of high courage and screaming panic from which no reader can turn away.Included in this striking catalog of catastrophes and Flying Dutchmen are the magnificent excursion liner Eastland, which capsized at her pier in the Chicago River, drowning 835 people within clutching distance of busy downtown streets; the shipwrecked steel freighter Mataafa, which dumped its crew into freezing waters while the snowbound town of Duluth looked on; the dark Sunday in November 1913 when Lake Huron swallowed eight long ships without a man surviving to tell the tale; and the bitter November of 1958 when the Bradley went down in Lake Michigan during one of the greatest killer storms on the freshwater seas. An entire section is dedicated to the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald -- the most famous maritime loss in modern times -- in Lake Superior in 1975.Chilling watercolor illustrations, photographs, maps, and news clippings accentuate Ratigan's compelling and dramatic storytelling. Sailors, historians, and general readers alike will be swept away by these unforgettable tales of tragedy and heroism.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Pages   384
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9" Width: 6" Height: 1.1"
Weight:   1.2 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 18, 1989
Publisher   Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Edition  Revised  
ISBN  0802870104  
ISBN13  9780802870100  

Availability  0 units.

More About William Ratigan & Reynold H. Weidenaar

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! (1910 1984) Six generations of William Ratigan's family have lived in Michigan, a fact that has inspired his novels and biographies of the Great Lakes region. His father went on the Lakes at age twelve and worked up to steamboat engineer, with fresh- and salt-water licenses. The author himself once acted as dockmaster for a season at his home port of Charlevoix Formerly a NBC network news director and supervisor of war correspondents in the PTO, he covered the Bradley shipwreck for the mass media and was consultant to the Smithsonian Institution on technical development of Great Lakes craft. In connection with his NBC network newsroom services, he carried a card as journalism instructor for UCLA. He was proud of having quarterbacked and captained the University of Chattanooga's all-Dixie Conference football team and of being an adopted chief of the Ottawa tribe, with the name of Opwa-nan iia Kanotong, Interpreter of Dreams.

William Ratigan was born in 1910.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > General
2Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > State & Local
3Books > Subjects > History > World > Transportation > Ships > Ships & Shipwrecks
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality

Christian Product Categories
Books > Education (K-12) > Social Science > History

Reviews - What do customers think about Great Lakes Shipwrecks and Survivals?

A book worth having if your into Great Lake Maritime History  Apr 8, 2006
Lots of valuable information in this book. The author certainly has a zest and love for his subject matter. This is clearly obvious reading his particular writing style. Only given 4 stars because the author tends to "wander" around the entire book. Robert J. Hemming's book "Ships Gone Missing" is a way better read if your simply seeking reading concerning the Great Storm of 1913.
An Ok Book  Feb 20, 2003
William Ratigan's Great Lakes Shipwrecks and Survivals is a good book if you want a record of each large shipwreck on the Great Lakes. Wrecks that occurred on each of the five Great Lakes organize the book. The last thirty pages are dedicated to the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
The book is more of an encolpia of shipwrecks than it is a book. It has some suspenseful points, but in general; it's dry and to the point.
There are very minimal pictures (at most 5) in the book. The writing is very informative and jammed packed. This would make a good book for someone who has a lot of time on his or her hands and can read very well. This would also make a good book for a person who had a, "sheltered" life; meaning, no personality, or since of humor.
There are some suspenseful points, but aren't what you think. They are quick and shot to the point. The book jumps from different ships all throughout the book as a cross-reference. Without any real life pictures of the ships the book refers to it becomes difficult to remember what ship they referred to without looking back.
I think there are better books with pictures and that are more user friendly and better organized than this book. My overall view of the book is thick old and dry with no visual aids. But in the books defense, this book does a great job explaining the shipwrecks, if you can stand reading a flood of words that are thicker than the Bible. It would just be that they put some visual aids to give your eyes a break.
"Full many a midnight ship with all its shrieking crew"  May 14, 2001
"Great Lakes Shipwrecks & Survivals" is probably classified as a book with limited 'regional' interest, which is a shame because it deserves a much wider audience. I think it merits a place on the bestseller list next to "In the Heart of the Sea : The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex" by Nathaniel Philbrick, or "The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea" by Sebastian Junger.

William Ratigan, a journalist whose father was a steamboat engineer, has written a romantic, blood-curdling maritime history of the Great Lakes, starting with Champlain's canoe as it ventured out onto Lake Huron, and ending with the thousand-foot bulk freighters that now churn our waters.

In his introduction, Ratigan warns the reader that even the biggest freighter is not guaranteed a safe return to port:

"These great ships sail Great Lakes that can swallow them in one black moment without a trace. Storms exploding across hundreds of miles of open water pile up mountainous seas that strike swifter, and more often, than the deadliest waves on any ocean. Before the ship has a chance to recover from the last blow, the next is upon her. The Lakes captain has no sea room in which to maneuver; unlike his salt-water counterpart he must stay on course throughout the storm; he must weather the teeth of the gale."

Each Lake's storms, shipwrecks, fires, and rescues gets its own section within "Great Lakes Shipwrecks & Survivals." The last section of the book's third edition (which I own) is devoted to the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, the introduction of bulk freighters into the Lakes, and the extension of the shipping season.

I'm glad this book was reissued in 2000, as I will soon need a replacement copy. I reread it almost every November, when gray skies close down over the freighters that still steam up and down the Detroit River near our house.

Are there captains out there, like the captains of the ill-fated Howard M. Hanna, Jr., the Daniel J. Morrell, the Carl D. Bradley, and the Edmund Fitzgerald, who are trying to squeeze in 'one last run' of the season?

As Ratigan says of these captains, "...they often stay out on the Lake beyond the time of regular insurance, beyond the time of navigational prudence. Once in a while, striving to make one last trip before winter locks up the Lakes, they make one last trip indeed---the last trip forever."

Great Reading  Dec 28, 2000
This is a very well written collection of stories about shipping disasters on the Great Lakes. The author has a very easy-going writing style that is a joy.
Great book - author seems a bit biased at times  Aug 1, 2000
Been looking for a book like this one. Found it at the Coast Guard/maritime museum in Grand Marais, MI. It's a great read and I highly recommend it, although the author seems to be biased at times as to which lake is the worst (not saying it's a bad thing though - he seems to think Lake Erie is the worst, but I and my late great-grandfather that sailed the lakes himself think Superior is). If I find any other book by this author, I'll definitely be picking it up to read :)

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