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True Tale-Teller: The Irrepressible Michael Schumacher

The Sinking and Trial of the Edmund Fitzgerald

Portrait of Michael Schumacher

Little is known about acclaimed author Michael Schumacher. He hails from Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he is both a beloved resident and a regular at Frank’s Diner. (Word has it the menu features a sandwich named after Schumacher). He wanted to be a writer from an early age (he edited his high school paper’s sports page and wrote his first novel as a sophomore). He got his first professional writing break in 1979 when he interviewed musician Tom Waits for Playboy. He is intelligent, enthusiastic, and despite his work appealing to so many, Schumacher is decidedly, a writer’s writer whose dedication to accuracy and craft are apparent.
He also is as elusive as he is prolific. Or maybe he’s prolific because he’s elusive? (Chicken? Egg? Chicken?) Regardless, Schumacher’s subject matter ranges from Midwest shipwrecks and US socio-political history to biographies of musicians (Eric Clapton, Phil Ochs), cartoonists (Will Eisner, Al Capp), filmmakers (Francis Ford Coppola) and basketball players (George Mikan).

Dharma Lion—Schumacher’s acclaimed biography of Allen Ginsberg—was reprinted in 2016, and followed by First Thought (2017), an edited compilation of previously uncollected interviews with the quintessential 20th-century American poet.

Not to rest on his laurels, 2018 marked the publication of the author’s widely praised The Contest: The 1968 Election and the War for America’s Soul as well as The Sinking of the Daniel J. Morrell and One Man's Survival on the Open Sea. (Prolific, remember?)

While his literary accomplishments are many, it is Schumacher’s command of shipwreck lore for which he is most renowned. In addition to narratives for 25 Great Lakes shipwreck and lighthouse documentary films, he has written numerous books on shipwrecks, including Wreck of the Carl D: A True Story of Loss, Survival, and Rescue at Sea (Bloomsbury, 2008), November’s Fury (2014), Mighty Fitz: The Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald (2012), and in November, just after the 44th anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald, The Trial of the Edmund Fitzgerald will be released by University of Minnesota Press.

Join LearningLife and Michael Schumacher on October 14 for The Sinking and Trial of the Edmund Fitzgerald, which includes a special preview of the author’s new release. He’ll pay tribute to the lives lost by sharing a unique, and uniquely enlightening, perspective on this unforgettable episode in America’s maritime history.

Published on September 9, 2019