BAY CITY, MI — Michigan author and Great Lakes historian Ric Mixter is speaking in Bay City this month on his latest book, “Tattletale Sounds: The Edmund Fitzgerald Investigations,” which promises new information on the wreck nearly half a century later.
Mixter will give a talk from 1 pm to 2 pm Saturday, Jan. 14, at the Historical Museum of Bay County, 321 Washington Ave. in Bay City. Admission is free.
Mixter’s new book borrows its name from Gordon Lightfoot’s famous ballad, but the author argues that many of the lyrics are incorrect. Instead, his book is told from the perspective of more than a dozen witnesses he has interviewed since 1994, including an exclusive interview with the cook, who left the ship a few weeks before it sank, according to an Airworthy Productions news release.
“I’ve interviewed shipyard workers, sailors and over a dozen people directly involved in the history of the Fitzgerald,” Mixter said in a statement. “This is really their perspective; I just put it in a text that’s easy to understand.”
Mixter dove at the wreck site in the Delta submersible in July of 1994, just minutes before submariners found the first missing crewman. His “Tattletale Sounds” is an exclusive look at the Fitzgerald and the Detroit River’s role in shipbuilding that ended with two other ships after the Fitzgerald.
“This includes two people who lost their lives building the largest freighter on the Great Lakes, which has not been published in other books,” Mixter’s statement continued. “The new book also shares highlights from hours of previously unreleased commentary by Coast Guard investigators in 1976.”
Mixter’s book provides insight into the ship’s structural problems investigated by the Coast Guard and includes comments from Capt. Bernie Cooper, who was the last to see the Fitzgerald on Lake Superior, according to the release. From the shaky shake-down cruise of the ship in 1958 to secrets of how the ship continued to break cargo records even after it was no longer the largest on the lakes, Mixter said his book is sure to provide new information to anyone interested in shipwrecks. .
“There are so many secrets that have yet to come to the surface,” Mixter’s statement continued. “I’ve been lucky to find such amazing people who have shared their personal experience with the legendary ship.”
“Tattletale Sounds” is available online at many maritime museums or at www.shipwreckpodcast.com.
For more information about this and other upcoming events at the Historical Museum of Bay County, visit www.bchsmuseum.org.
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