Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

The Salvager

The Life of Captain Tom Reid on the Great Lakes

2017
Author:

Mary Frances Doner
Foreword by Michael Schumacher

The Salvager

“The dramatic story of great disasters and of the gambles that are the life and blood of the salvage business.” —The New York Times

The Salvager is a narrative history of Great Lakes shipping disasters of 1880–1950 and the life story of Captain Thomas Reid. Using the records of the Reid Wrecking and Towing Company as well as Reid’s personal letters, here are the stories of the maritime disasters and wrecking adventures that followed, and of those waiting on shore for their loved ones.

Doner, with a novelist's precision and sense of drama, presents the details, the conversations and actions, like an impressionist painter, one dab at a time, until a much larger picture emerges. We see the difficult dilemmas not only of Tom Reid but of anyone who leaves a household for an extended time on the water.

Michael Schumacher, from the Foreword

First published in 1958, The Salvager is both a narrative history of Great Lakes shipping disasters of 1880–1950 and the life story of Captain Thomas Reid, who operated one of the region’s largest salvaging companies during that era.

The treacherous shoals, unpredictable storms, and sub-zero temperatures of the Great Lakes have always posed special hazards to mariners—particularly before the advent of modern navigational technologies—and offered ample opportunity for an enterprising sailor to build a salvage business up from nothing. Designing much of his equipment himself and honing a keen eye for the risks and rewards of various catastrophes, Captain Reid rose from humble beginnings and developed salvaging into a science. Using the actual records of the Reid Wrecking and Towing Company as well as Reid’s personal logs and letters, Mary Frances Doner deftly tells the stories not only of the maritime disasters and the wrecking adventures that followed, but also of those waiting back on shore for their loved ones to return.

The Salvager

Mary Frances Doner (1893–1985) was the author of more than twenty-eight works of fiction and nonfiction, most of which were set on or around the Great Lakes.

Michael Schumacher has written twelve books, including, most recently, Torn in Two: The Sinking of the Daniel J. Morrell and One Man’s Survival on the Open Sea (Minnesota, 2016). He lives in Wisconsin.

The Salvager

Doner, with a novelist's precision and sense of drama, presents the details, the conversations and actions, like an impressionist painter, one dab at a time, until a much larger picture emerges. We see the difficult dilemmas not only of Tom Reid but of anyone who leaves a household for an extended time on the water.

Michael Schumacher, from the Foreword

Purchase

About E-books

Available in April 2017