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Making Sense of the Constitution
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Deadly VoyageDeadly Voyage

The S.S. Daniel J. Morrell Tragedy

Andrew Kantar

Narrated by Todd Curless

Available from Audible

Book published by Michigan State University Press

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.

Andrew Kantar is Professor of English and Director of the Writing Center at Ferris State University. His first book, 29 Missing: The True and Tragic Story of the Disappearance of the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald, was designated a Michigan Notable Book.


“The breaking apart of the Daniel J. Morrell, along with Dennis Hale's remarkable survival on a life raft on a storm-ravaged Lake Huron, comprises one of the most compelling shipwreck stories in Great Lakes history. In Deadly Voyage, Andrew Kantar takes his reader through a tale that is, in turns, harrowing, tragic, frustrating, uplifting, suspenseful, and, ultimately, historically important. This book is a vital addition to any collection of Great Lakes maritime books.”

—Michael Schumacher, Great Lakes historian and author of Mighty Fitz and Wreck of the Carl D.

“While reading Mr. Kantar's book, I reflected on my life. I thought of all the hardships that I faced in my childhood and adult life. Although my life was rough, I think it taught me a lesson that helped me survive the sinking. One thing I learned was to never ever, for one moment, give up.”

—Dennis Hale, sole survivor of the sinking of the S.S. Daniel J. Morrell

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University Press Audiobooks