So you've all heard the song The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, right?
Well, of course, I had too. And I'd always been, somewhere in the back of my mind, intrigued by the story of the ship's sinking in Lake Superior. But here's the embarrassing thing--I'd always had in mind it was something that happened in the 1920s or 1930s.
Did you know that the huge iron ore carrier sank in November, 1975?
You're right, I really should have known that myself. And it's one of many reasons I'm glad that I saw Michael Schumacher's book Mighty Fitz: The Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald listed as one of the new nonfiction books in my library's catalog, and brought it home.
It's a succinct little history, telling the story of the Edmund Fitzgerald's last tragic voyage on stormy seas, as well as a bit about the ensuing investigations of the wreck. It's only 187 pages long (although appendixes include a list of the names of the 29 men who died aboard, notes, a comprehensive bibliography, and an index. It was just what I wanted; a quickly paced account that covered the basics but never got too technical*, although I might have liked to see a bit more information on the sailors who died and their families. The most interesting thing about the story is how it is resolved--or not--you'll just have to read the book to see what I mean.
*I'd actually love to see William Langewiesche take a whack at this subject, or maybe Great Lakes shipwrecks in general. I know he doesn't write history, really, but he does a great job of making the technical interesting, I always think.