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Ashes Under Water


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About the Author

Michael McCarthy worked for the Wall Street Journal for twenty-two years, first as a reporter and then as an editor on feature stories. He is the author of The Sun Farmer and has been published in The Southern Review, among other publications. He has spent twelve years researching the Eastland case. He has lived in Chicago and now resides in South Haven, Michigan-two ports of call in the Eastland story.


After more than a decade of research, journalist and Chicago resident Michael McCarthy shares a heartbreaking history in Ashes Under Water: The SS Eastland and the Shipwreck that Shook America. McCarthy gives this little-known Lake Michigan tragedy a thorough and compassionate telling and covers the media frenzy and indictments that followed. . . .Plentiful notes and a lengthy bibliography provide opportunity for further study for those interested. Ashes Under Water is carefully researched yet compelling told and combines the appeal of famous historical figures and places with everyday men and women struggling to survive. In this thoughtful treatment, the Eastland's story will deservedly capture the sympathy and imagination of diverse readers. * Foreword Reviews *
"This is a tour-de-force from an enormously gifted writer. In quickly sketched chapters McCarthy depicts a mysterious early-twentieth-century shipping disaster-the weather, the moguls, the greed, the ads, the hundreds of working people setting out for a picnic who ended in a makeshift morgue. The second half of the book brilliantly tracks the legal maneuvering and the murky trial that ultimately exonerated the crew, government inspectors, and the owners. Ashes Under Water is prodigiously researched and richly imagined. McCarthy's vivid images kept bringing me back to our own contemporary society with its increasing disparity between the middle class and the powerful rich."-Jeanne Murray Walker, author of The Geography of Memory

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