A monthly book club discussing works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry that have the Great Lakes as a setting or as subject matter. This month’s selection is Torn in Two: The Sinking of the Daniel J. Morrell and One Man’s Survival on the Open Sea by Great Lakes historian Michael Schumacher.
Dennis Hale reached the dock just in time to see the Daniel J. Morrell heading out to open waters, a 600-foot freighter that had plied the waters for sixty years, carrying ore from Minnesota’s Iron Range to steel firms around the Great Lakes. The twenty-six-year-old watchman had, quite literally, missed the boat—which meant scrambling to rejoin the Morrell at its next stop or forfeiting a good chunk of his pay package. Seventy-two hours later, Hale would find himself clinging to a life raft alongside the frozen bodies of his crewmates in the violent waves of Lake Huron. The boat would not be reported missing for another twenty-seven hours and by the time the life raft was found, Dennis Hale would remain as the sole survivor of the wreck of the Daniel J. Morrell.
Held the first Thursday of each month (September through May) in the Reddin Bridge Room of the beautiful Door County Maritime Museum, the Great Lakes/Great Books discussions are free and open to all ages.