(published June 30, 2014)
ABOUT THE BOOK
Florida Book Festival Runner Up
Collectively, the Great Lakes cover an area of approximately 800 miles from east to west and 500 miles from north to south; they contain 21% of the world's surface fresh water. Storms on the Lakes with winds up to 60 miles per hour and waves up to 20 feet in height are not uncommon. While major storms are generally thought of as being the cause of ships lost, and indeed they are the primary cause, many other ships have been lost through groundings, collisions, fires, and naval battles. While most people today would guess that there have been 100–500 shipwrecks on the Lakes over the years, the actual number is 6,000+ with the loss of more than 30,000 lives.
I've been reading a chapter or two a day during my vacation on Lake Michigan this summer. This is a complete mind-blower, giving a much deeper appreciation of what it has taken to be a ship captain on Lake Michigan, particularly in November and December - the most dangerous storm window. I asked my family to guess how many shipwrecks there had been on the great lakes. The highest guess was a few hundred. Ritchey reveals that over 6000 ships have gone down! 20 foot waves, sleet and snow...makes you want to stay on shore! This book is a well-researched and excellently written account, without hyperbole, but loaded with fascinating stories and data. Fall's coming. LIght a fire in the hearth as your storms begin and curl up with this wonderful book!
Though around the ocean most of my life,I do not have sea legs and I will never go on a cruise. I have always had a huge respect for the sea and love it's beauty and power. Mr. Ritchey's book, "Tales From The Depths", more than confirms my sentiments. He sets up each adventure with weather conditions, ship specifications, and qualifications of the crew and captain involved. His writing sets the imagination in a whirlwind of awe, shock and sometimes heart pounding awareness of the day's events leading up to the inevitable.
I have over the year read about the world oceans and only recently discovered how much of the United States and Canadian history is affected by events involve the Great Lakes. The lakes provided the roadway to explore, settle and collect raw material so far into a wilderness that had no other access for two hundred plus years. Tales from the Depths is a very well written book that explains the Great Lake area's extreme weather, the amazing people and ships that called them home. The stories and pictures provide a personal image while you read about the events, you can imagine having the wind and mist blowing in your face on the deck of a ship and wonder what would you do in the same situation; Great maritime historic stories with the personal touch.
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