Author Frank Boles grew up in Lincoln Park, Michigan and was fascinated with Great Lakes Freighters. especially those he saw on the nearby Detroit River. Bole’s early fascination led to a life-long interest, and eventually to writing, “Sailing into History: Great Lakes Bulk Carriers of the Twentieth Century and the Crews Who Sailed Them.” Boles is the director of Central Michigan University’s Clarke Historical Library since 1991. He has also worked as an archivist with the Chicago Historical Museum and University of Michigan’s Bentley Historical Library. Five years was put into the research and writing of the book.
Boles says that providing an accurate portrayal of shipboard life was one of his key goals in writing the book. The book points out that working aboard a lake freighter was a very tough life, often in very tough weather. The author notes that unlike other difficult occupations, you didn’t get to go home at night.
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.
The book is available at major book retailers in both Canada and USA.
Like Great Lakes Freighters? You’ll like this site:
Note: You could win a trip on a Great Lakes Freighter (second link from the top of the page.