S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald by Raymond Ramsey: a review

Ramsay, one of the engineers who helped design the Edmund Fitzgerald, examines the evidence and concludes:

  • The ship was under-engineered.
  • The ship was probably poorly constructed.
  • The ship was poorly maintained.
  • The ship had a history of unusually hard use.
  • When she met an unprecedented storm, the poor worn out ship failed.

I have, of course, left out a lot of detail. This all seems plausible, and explains what happened on November 10, 1975, at least as well as the prevailing theories. And you really can’t fault the author’s credentials.

Nonetheless: This is an awful book. At the very least, it needed an editor; a better solution would have been a competent co-author. Much of the argument is poorly-sourced assertion. The author spends far too much time raving about conspiracies and coverups. Moreover, expecting families whose sons and husbands died with the Fitz to join his battle after all these years is almost certainly a lost cause. And hiding your arguments in disorderly, rant-prone, and opaque prose is an unlikely strategy for convincing anyone of your righteousness.

Worth reading if: You’re obsessed with the Fitz, or you really want an engineers’ perspective on the disaster. Otherwise a waste of your time.


This review was originally published on LibraryThing.