Mastering the Inland Seas: How Lighthouses, Navigational Aids, and Harbors Transformed the Great Lakes and America (Hardcover)

Mastering the Inland Seas: How Lighthouses, Navigational Aids, and Harbors Transformed the Great Lakes and America By Theodore J. Karamanski, Theodore Karamanski Cover Image

Mastering the Inland Seas: How Lighthouses, Navigational Aids, and Harbors Transformed the Great Lakes and America (Hardcover)

$36.95


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Theodore J. Karamanski's sweeping maritime history demonstrates the far-ranging impact that the tools and infrastructure developed for navigating the Great Lakes had on the national economies, politics, and environment of continental North America. Synthesizing popular as well as original historical scholarship, Karamanski weaves a colorful narrative illustrating how disparate private and government interests transformed these vast and dangerous waters into the largest inland water transportation system in the world.
Karamanski explores both the navigational and sailing tools of First Nations peoples and the dismissive and foolhardy attitude of early European maritime sailors. He investigates the role played by commercial boats in the Underground Railroad, as well as how the federal development of crucial navigational resources exacerbated sectionalism in the antebellum United States. Ultimately Mastering the Inland Sea shows the undeniable environmental impact of technologies used by the modern commercial maritime industry. This expansive story illuminates the symbiotic relationship between infrastructure investment in the region's interconnected waterways and North America's lasting economic and political development.

Theodore J. Karamanski is Professor of History and Director of the Public History Graduate Program at Loyola University Chicago.

Product Details ISBN: 9780299326302
ISBN-10: 0299326306
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
Publication Date: April 21st, 2020
Pages: 384
Language: English
Mastering the Inland Seas offers a broad panorama of the conflicts, policies, and personalities that created the modern navigation system on the Great Lakes. Far more than just lighthouses, it draws in the political storms of antebellum America, the federal government's role, and the long-term impact of these encounters.”—Matthew Lawrence Daley, Grand Valley State University

“Magnificently researched and written with clarity and high energy, Karamanski's Mastering the Inland Seas tells the hidden history of how generations of maritime peoples—from indigenous canoe paddlers to modern mariners—navigated and domesticated the watery wilderness of the Great Lakes.”—Robert Michael Morrissey, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

“Karamanski’s prodigious research anchors the book. He provides the kind of gritty detail that derive only from exhaustive research in primary sources. He mines archival and newspaper collections from around the Great Lakes, the records of government agencies, diaries of ship captains and more.”—The Annals of Iowa



"Rare is the history book that belongs on the shelves of scholars and enthusiasts alike. However, with its fascinating subject, rich narrative, and compelling analysis, this is such a book.”—CHOICE Reviews

“In a sparkling and vigorous narrative, the author describes man's attempt to turn a wild and untamed watery wilderness into a safe, commercial avenue for the transportation of raw materials, manufactured goods, and people.”—Michigan in Books

“If you are a lighthouse fan, Civil War buff, weather geek, boat owner, or just love the Great Lakes . . . Mastering the Inland Seas: How Lighthouses, Navigational Aids, and Harbors Transformed the Great Lakes and America, has something to interest you.”—Ogemaw County Voice