|Title||:||Sole Survivor: Dennis Hale's Story|
|Number of Pages||:||143 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Sole Survivor: Dennis Hale's Story Reviews
I am proud to own an autographed copy of this book, although I've never met Dennis Hale. This book gets five stars from me, because Mr. Hale deserves them. He earned them. Sole Survivor reads like an across-the-table conversation. It is easy to read but difficult to imagine what he went through and how he survived the sinking of the Morrell. This is among my favorite books on the Great Lakes. For anyone who likes to look at steel bulk-freight steamers on the Lakes' horizons, Sole Survivor is a must-read.
Short story - most of the book was the actual reports from the Coast Guard, and all the other officials involved. Mr. Hale must've had some stamina & determination to survive in the cold ocean for 38 hours, dressed in his boxer shorts & a jacket.
I give this book 5 stars not because it's a literary classic, but because it's such a riveting tale. I recently read William Kent Krueger's book "Purgatory Ridge", in which he borrowed (and acknowledged) Hale's account of the sinking of the Morrell practically word for word. Hale had a pretty rough life even before he signed on with the Pittsburgh Steamship Company. His harrowing (which doesn't begin to describe the horror) experience during and after the sinking left him bitter and reclusive. Many years after the event, however, a documentary film maker from Michigan convinced him to open up and share his tale. I'm glad he did. About half the book is the comprehensive reports compiled after the sinking. Most may find these rather dry and incomprehensible, but I found them fascinating. I've been watching these boats from shore my entire life - probably even saw the Morrell a time or two - so I appreciate the opportunity to learn more about their construction, their workings and the ordeals they face every year on the big lakes.
For a layman with not even a complete high school education, Hale writes quite well. We know this because the book lacks editorial polish. There are a few grammar errors and some syntax that makes one groan. While the manuscript probably saw the hand of an editor once, not a great deal of time was invested in it.Hale tries to make his entire life story interesting, but it really isn’t. I do not mean to disparage the man. But nothing in his tale gives us a glimpse into life in 1950s northeastern Ohio or Los Angeles. There is nothing in his life that influenced his choice to become a sailor on the Great Lakes. It is simply a narrative tool to break up the meat of his story into smaller chunks. Ultimately, Hale’s tale is inspiring. It is one of bravery, healing, and redemption mixed with not just a little bit of luck. Since I first heard the story of the Daniel J. Morrell almost 20 years ago, I’ve wanted to learn more about the ship’s loan survivor. It is a tale that rivals that of the legendary crew of the Edmund Fitzgerald in the lore of the Great Lakes.Hale’s book is a compelling read. A little more editorial polish with perhaps some editorial coaching during the writing process would have made it better. Still, it was well worth the time and a thoroughly enjoyable reading experience.
Before the Edmund Fitzgerald went down, the gales of November brought down the Daniel J. Morrell on Lake Huron. Like the Fitzgerald, the Morrell was an iron ore carrier. The big difference in the two ships is that the Fitzgerald lost all hands on deck while the Morrell had one survivor — Dennis Hale. In this autobiography Hale questions why him? Why was he the one chosen to be saved of the entire crew? He looks back at his life decisions and wonders which one of them prepared him for the shadow that constantly hangs over him. While on the raft he has some unique experiences that are difficult for him to come to grips with and he tells of his struggles to understand what his place in the world is. The reader feels his pain. His pain in searching for an answer and his pain from spending 38 hours on a raft in his Navy pea coat and boxer shorts. The story pulls you in and makes it difficult to put down. I am left with the feeling that I must meet this man.
I'm a pretty big fanboy of the Great Lakes' Ore Carriers. Other folks admire the sleek lines of a sailboat or the rakish angle of a warship. I love the Lake Boats. Ungainly barges with an engine at the back, they have sustained the trade on the Lakes since the early 20th century. I purchased my copy of this at the museum in Vermillion, OH along with a line drawn print of the Morrell, both signed by Mr. Hale. His story is a very personal view of the wreck, one that he has only recently been talking about. I can't say I blame him. Watching his friends and shipmates die one by one was traumatic. I loved this book because it's told with his own voice (the filler is the Coat Guard report) and puts the disaster into a new light. He recently did a short bit on NPR about his experience as well. I'm very happy that he is speaking about this.
In 1966, the SS Daniel J Morrell was lost in a storm on Lake Huron with all hands but one. The survivor, Dennis Hale, was a 26-year-old watchman; he survived thirty-eight hours in a tiny life raft in gale-force winds with water and air temperatures hovering just above freezing, clad in only a pair of boxers, a wool peacoat, and a life jacket. His story is the best kind of survival tale, not only man against nature but later man against self with the ultimate triumph of the human spirit. A fine read for my sailor's heart.
A very interesting tale, but the writing was a bit unpolished. A very quick read of a harrowing tale!