cover image Mighty Fitz: The Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald

Mighty Fitz: The Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald

Michael Schumacher, . . Bloomsbury, $24.95 (243pp) ISBN 978-1-58234-647-2

In honor of the 30th anniversary of the sinking of the Great Lakes ore carrier Edmund Fitzgerald , an event given lasting fame by singer Gordon Lightfoot's "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, " Schumacher recreates both the ship's final trip and the controversies that later eddied about the wreck's cause and the ultimate disposition of ship relics. Schumacher, biographer of Eric Clapton, Francis Ford Coppola and Allen Ginsberg, has also produced 25 documentaries about Great Lakes shipwrecks—an indication of his passion. Even as he dissects the rancorous disputes that arose among family members of the dead, historians and others seeking to either memorialize or exploit the shipwreck, Schumacher never fails to bring a sympathetic and knowledgeable view of the story, as well as great respect to the memory of the 29 crew members who died. Although some of the literary devices he employs are formulaic—the high school student being called from class to learn of the death of her father, for example—Schumacher, aided by his encyclopedic knowledge of Great Lakes shipwrecks and his abiding interest in telling an accurate, unsensationalized story makes them work in a rewarding narrative. (Nov.)