Life on the Great Lakes
A Wheelsman’s Story
Fred W. Dutton
Edited by William Donohue Ellis
Autobiography, Great Lakes, Maritime Studies
Pages: 176 Size: 6x9
Dutton has set down the little, everyday events that give history its life and texture.
— Detroit Free Press
Fred Dutton's story tells of the time before the gyro when ships were steered by magnetic compass and men had to estimate the degree of error in navigational calculations. Dutton recounts the terror of ships meeting and passing in the fog and the subtleties of handling ships at the docks. Serving under many captains on a dozen and a half vessels, he spices his account with profiles of ships' officers and crew and with details of deckhand work.
Life on the Great Lakes provides a concentration of information that otherwise would need to be assembled in fragments from a hundred sources. Historians, folklore buffs, and ship lovers will discover details of vessel operation usually available only in the dialogue of a passing generation of very elderly sailors.
Reads as if it was written on the decks and in the wheelhouse . . . [Dutton's] I-was-there stories of first-day jitters, shipboard hazards and shipmates' follies are a refreshing departure from the usual fare. While most histories romanticize big events as seen from a distance, Dutton has set down the little, everyday events that give history its life and texture.
– Detroit Free Press