Stories from the Wreckage
A Great Lakes Maritime History Inspired by Shipwrecks
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Every shipwreck has a story that extends far beyond its tragic end. The dramatic tales of disaster, heroism, and folly become even more compelling when viewed as junction points in history—connecting to stories about the frontier, the environment, immigration, politics, technology, and industry. In Stories from the Wreckage, John Odin Jensen examines a selection of Great Lakes shipwrecks of the wooden age for a deeper dive into this transformative chapter of maritime history. He mines the archeological evidence and historic record to show how their tragic ends fit in with the larger narrative of Midwestern history. Featuring the underwater photography of maritime archeologist Tamara Thomsen, this vibrant volume is a must-have for shipping enthusiasts as well as anyone interested in the power of water to shape history.
Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 9780870209024, 288pp.
Publication Date: April 3, 2019
About the Author
John Odin Jensen has studied North American maritime frontier shipwrecks from the Grand Banks of Newfoundland to the edges of the Bering Sea. Born into a Norwegian-American seafaring family in Alaska, he began his maritime career working alongside his father and brother in the commercial fisheries in the 1970s, a time and place where shipwreck and death at sea were an accepted part of life. As a former crab boat captain and a shipwreck survivor, Jensen brings deep professional experience and personal sympathy to the study of the North American mariners,ships, and shipwrecks. His more than thirty years of Great Lakes experience began with a position as an engineer/deckhand aboard the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee research vessel Neeskay and continued with many seasons surveying shipwrecks as a professional underwater archaeologist with the Wisconsin Historical Society. In addition to his early seagoing education, Jensen earned a BA in history from Lawrence University, an MA in maritime history and underwater archaeology from East Carolina University, and MS and PhD degrees in history from Carnegie Mellon University. He is on the faculty of the department of history at the University of West Florida.