As most of our readers will know, it is the practice of your Editor to review in these pages the various literary efforts of our talented and knowledgeable members as they appear in print. You folks haven't been keeping us very busy lately but this situation was remedied the other day when we received in the mail a package with the unlikely postal cancellation of Hicksville, New York, on it. Not knowing anybody in Hicksville, New York, who would be likely to send us a book in the mail, ye Ed. eagerly finished removing the wrapper, a procedure which the efficient hands of the post office had already begun for us, and soon beheld a 147-page hardcover entitled Winds Over Lake Huron: Chronicles in the Life of a Great Lakes Mariner. We haven't been able to put it down since.
Winds Over Lake Huron has been written by Capt. Robert A. Sinclair of Lakewood, Ohio, who has been a T.M.H.S. member for several years. If only we had known that he was such an accomplished author, we would long ago have corralled his services to assist with "Scanner". For Winds Over Lake Huron is without a doubt the most refreshing book written about the lakes, their men and their ships, in a good many years.
Capt. Sinclair writes of the coming of his family to the Great Lakes area, of the days of his own childhood in the town of Goderich, and of his many and varied experiences aboard lake freighters during the second and third decades of this century. His pen flows with a fluid and easy style and he speaks to us in a way that lets all understand his most intimate feelings about those days now long past. His tongue is frequently in cheek and he never shies away from the humour inherent in some of the situations in which he found himself while a young man exploring the weird and wonderful world of lake shipping. But best of all, Capt. Sinclair writes with an honest and infectious enthusiasm for his subject, something almost totally lacking from most other lake volumes but which makes Winds Over Lake Huron affect us in much the same exhilarating way as do the real bluewater breezes blowing off the lake.
Winds Over Lake Huron contains photographs and a bibliography and is fully indexed for those seeking out the mention of any particular ship (and many steamers are mentioned). In addition, the author has very thoughtfully placed at the bottom of the page on which each vessel is introduced a thumbnail history of the ship and he certainly meets our own personal requirements for accuracy.
Winds Over Lake Huron has a publication date of February 28th, 1977 and no doubt will soon be available in local bookstores. The volume is published by Exposition Press Inc., 900 South Oyster Bay Road, Hicksville, New York 11801, and the price is a most reasonable $7.50. We hesitate not a bit in recommending it highly.
The only trouble with the book is that Capt. Sinclair leaves us hanging in that he ends his account with the 1928 bankruptcy of the Forest City Steamship Company. As he did not retire from lake vessels until 1963, we sincerely hope that we can expect a further volume of his experiences. If so, we shall wait with eager, although somewhat impatient, anticipation.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.