Book: Ashes Under Water
This year marks 100 years since the SS Eastland tragedy, and Lyons Press has recently released of Ashes Under Water: The SS Eastland and the Shipwreck That Shook America, by Michael McCarthy.
It was the summer that broke America's heart. In 1915, Chicago commuters were horrified to see the SS Eastland, a massive Lake Michigan steamship, flip over while tied to its dock. More than eight hundred poor factory workers and their children drowned. Twenty-two whole families perished. The nation cried out for justice.
Drawing on previously unpublished evidence from the National Archives, Ashes Under Water is the untold story of a mysterious industrial atrocity and how the prosperous, guilty Eastland owners tried to shift the blame to the whistleblower and one true hero on the ship, Engineer Joseph Erickson, a working class immigrant.
Against all odds, an attorney down on his luck at the time then stepped in to save him: Clarence Darrow, the future legal star.
A national tragedy, Chicago politics, corrupt businessmen, a courtroom drama all woven into one spellbinding narrative. Author Michael McCarthy takes us back one hundred years to one of the most shocking accidents in American history. But the aftermath and the cover-up just may have been worse.
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.
“From the Chicago River, Michael McCarthy has dredged a tale previously lost amid Chicago's flow of corrupt politics and Industrial Age greed. Thanks to McCarthy's extensive reporting and clear prose, we now know exactly how and why this fascinating story was willfully obscured and long buried. McCarthy has done not only American history a huge favor, he's given voice to the hundreds of unfortunate souls who so tragically lost their lives at the hands of a powerful few.” -- David Mendell, author, Obama: From Promise to Power
"Michael McCarthy's Ashes Under Water is more than just an expert and intense dissection of a notable and heart-wrenching tragedy -- it's a compelling and well-written portrait of an era, and shines a discerning light on the vibrant personalities of all stripes that staked their claim to the American Dream at the turn of the last century." -- James Carl Nelson, author, The Remains of Company D: A Story of the Great War and Five Lieutenants
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed herein are the author’s and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.
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