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Sailing into HistorySailing into History

Great Lakes Bulk Carriers of the Twentieth Century and the Crews Who Sailed Them

Frank Boles

Midwest Book Award; Michigan Notable Book Award

Narrated by Michael Hanko

Available from Audible


Book published by Michigan State University Press


The Great Lakes create a vast transportation network that supports a massive shipping industry. In this volume, seamanship, cargo, competition, cooperation, technology, engineering, business, unions, government decisions, and international agreements all come together to create a story of unrivaled interest about the Great Lakes ships and the crews that sailed them in the twentieth century. This complex and multifaceted tale begins in iron and coal mines, with the movement of the raw ingredients of industrial America across docks into ever larger ships using increasingly complicated tools and technology. The shipping industry was an expensive challenge, as it required huge investments of capital, caused bitter labor disputes, and needed direct government intervention to literally remake the lakes to accommodate the ships. It also demanded one of the most integrated international systems of regulation and navigation in the world to sail a ship from Duluth to upstate New York. Sailing into History describes the fascinating history of a century of achievements and setbacks, unimagined change mixed with surprising stability.

Frank Boles has served as the director of Central Michigan University's Clarke Historical Library since 1991. He has also worked as an archivist at the University of Michigan's Bentley Historical Library and at the Chicago Historical Museum.

REVIEWS:

“This volume is a good read for those who know about Great Lakes shipping, and an easily accessible work for those who don’t. It’s well organized and covers a lot of material in an economical, yet coherent, way. Put it this way: I read—and dismiss—a lot of books on the topic of Great Lakes ships and shipping, but this one is a keeper.”

—Roger Lelievre, editor/publisher at Know Your Ships

“This book makes a substantial contribution to the field of Great Lakes maritime history. The author successfully blends a wide array of factors into a complete story, including modifications to the travel routes, gradual increases in ship sizes and carrying capacities, changes in the nature of the crew makeup, port loading and unloading operations, and technological advancements such as radio’s impact on navigation. While there have been a substantial number of works about nineteenth-century ships and their cargoes and crews, the author does the audience a great service in bringing out and synthesizing what has happened on the lakes in the last century to tell the significant stories that affected the industry.”

—Scott M. Peters, curator of collections, Michigan Historical Museum





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