Midwest Book Review on Mikel Classen’s True Tales: The Forgotten History of the U.P.

Review by Carolyn WIlhelm for MBR

Pioneer days conjure up romantic, sentimental ideas of simple living and being close to nature. However, the truth also included lawless, rugged, difficult times. Native Americans and those from Europe mined, traveled, worked, logged, and sailed Lake Superior’s frontier wilderness amid uncivilized criminals, kidnappers, and slavers. Laws were few, enforcement was scarce, violent events were often, and shipwrecks were many. Wonderful life-saving deeds of kindness and compassion are also recorded on these pages as opportunities to be a hero were many.

Consider mining. Yes, rarely paired with pioneers such as Laura Ingalls Wilder, yet it is part of history at the same time. And Lake Superior! So few people understand how cold it is year-round (about 40 degrees) or how many shipwrecks (about 350) have taken place in the deepest waters of the Great Lakes. Before modern mariner tools, sailors had a strenuous, grueling life when pirates were plundering boats. Surviving crashes in winter required ingenuity and persistence unless a body became an icicle. And slavers trafficked women to stockades, as detailed in the book.

Classen does history an excellent service by revealing the truth. Sometimes we think humanity has advanced little. An attitude quickly challenged in these pages. Readers will feel gratitude for all they have today after finishing these tales.


True Tales: The Forgotten History of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
Mikel B. Classen
Modern History Press
https://www.modernhistorypress.com
B09WJMKV12, $5.95 Kindle
9781615996353, $29.95 HC, $18.95 PB, 162 pp.

Carolyn Wilhelm, Reviewer
Wise Owl Factory LLC

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True Tales

SKU 978-1-61599-635-3
$18.95
The Forgotten History of Michigan's Upper Peninsula
In stock
1
Product Details
UPC: 978-1-61599-635-3
Brand: Modern History Press
Binding: Paperback
Audiobook: Audible, iTunes
Edition: 1st
Author: Mikel Classen
Pages: 162
Publication Date: 04/01/2022

What Were Pioneer Days Really Like in the U.P.?

The combination of mining, maritime and lumbering history created a culture in the U.P. that is unique to the Midwest. Discover true stories of the rough and dangerous times of the Upper Peninsula frontier that are as enjoyable as they are educational. You'll find no conventional romantic or whitewashed history here. Instead, you will be astonished by the true hardships and facets of trying to settle a frontier sandwiched among the three Great Lakes.

These pages are populated by Native Americans and the European immigrants, looking for their personal promised land-whether to raise families, avoid the law, start a new life or just get rich... no matter what it took. Mineral hunters, outlaws, men of honor creating civilization out of wilderness and the women of strength that accompanied them, the Upper Peninsula called to all. Among the eye-opening stories, you'll find True Tales includes:

  • Dan Seavey, the infamous pirate based out of Escanaba
  • Angelique Mott, who was marooned with her husband on Isle Royale for 9 months with just a handful of provisions and no weapons or tools
  • Vigilantes who broke up the notorious sex trafficking rings - protected by stockades, gunmen, and feral dogs - in Seney, Sac Bay, Ewen, Trout Creek, Ontonagon and Bruce Crossing
  • Klaus L. Hamringa, the lightkeeper hero who received a commendation of valor for saving the crews of the Monarch and Kiowa shipwrecks
  • The strange story of stagecoach robber Reimund (Black Bart) Holzhey
  • The whimsical tale of how Christmas, Michigan got its moniker
  • The backstories of famous pioneers, such as Peter White, George Shiras III, Governor Chase Osborn and many others

This book is a gold mine of vacation possibilities, providing dozens of fascinating little-known facts about many of the innumerable attractions found in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. With the aid of a near countless parade of carefully selected historical images, Mikel paints a picture the reader will not ever forget. -- Michael Carrier, author of Murder on Sugar Island (Jack Handler mysteries)

Learn more at MikelBClassen.com

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