Book Details Great Lakes Freighters and Crews


Ever since childhood trips to Bishop Park on the Detroit River, Frank Boles has been fascinated with large cargo ships — how they work and what the crew does. Boles fed this curiosity for years, and it eventually motivated him to write “Sailing into History: Great Lakes Bulk Carriers of the Twentieth Century and the Crews Who Sailed Them,” a book published this year.

This non-fiction novel paints an overview of the history of 20th century Great Lakes freighters. Rather than focus on specific ships, Boles details a more general history of the 20th century, delving into the role of the crew aboard these ships and types of cargo. Boles says his book also emphasizes the hardships of working on these freighters, instead of presenting a romanticized version of a sailor’s life. 

Boles is a native of Lincoln Park, Michigan, and currently serves as the director of Central Michigan University’s Clarke Historical Library. His book is available from the Michigan State University Press for $39.95.

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