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The Third Coast: Sailors, Strippers, Fishermen, Folksingers, Long-Haired Ojibway Painters, and God-Save-the-Queen Monarchists of the Great Lakes Hardcover – February 1, 2008


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The Third Coast: Sailors, Strippers, Fishermen, Folksingers, Long-Haired Ojibway Painters, and God-Save-the-Queen Monarchists of the Great Lakes + Nothin' But Blue Skies: The Heyday, Hard Times, and Hopes of America's Industrial Heartland
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press (February 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556527217
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556527210
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,290,467 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Southern pride is everywhere, from the radio to the presidency, but not much time or media coverage is devoted to northern pride, the essence of McClelland’s book oriented on the Great Lakes and the lands that surround them—the Freshwater Nation. Crossing borders and circumnavigating the lakes, McClelland made an almost 10,000-mile journey from Chicago to Wisconsin to upper Michigan to (via Isle Royale) Minnesota to Ontario to New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, and through lower Michigan to Michigan City, Indiana. His conversations with such characters met en route as Yuri the sailor and Oil Can Eddie constitute one of the book’s definite pleasures. Visits to the drunkest city in America (Milwaukee), the world’s largest barber pole, and natural wonders and their environs (Downtown Niagara Falls . . . looks like a carnival that has put down roots and incorporated itself); chats with Canadians who remain staunch Loyalists (to the crown, that is); and an REO Speedwagon–Styx concert at a county fair near Lake Erie are others this hearty, good-natured homage affords. --June Sawyers

Review

"[A] hearty, good-natured homage."   —Booklist


"The author struts an extensive knowledge of the area that makes this a must for fans of travel literature."  —Kirkus Reviews


Captures a slice of North Americana with the precision of a Walker Evans photograph, and sentences worthy of John McPhee."  —Neal Pollack, author, Alternadad


"To [Ted McClelland], the North is a state of mind, and it is the Great Lakes region that fuels his imagination."  —Chicago Tribune


"Is there a Great Lakes culture? Damned straight, and Ted McClelland nails it."  —Jerry Dennis, author, The Living Great Lakes and A Place on the Water



"The Third Coast is much like the place it chronicles: interesting, not at all ostentatious, and a great amount of fun."  —Tom Bissell, author, The Father of All Things


"[A] quirky travelogue."  —Kenosha News



"A very good read. I learned more about the Great Lakes region from it than I had in a half century of living in Michigan."  —The Bay City Times


More About the Author

Edward McClelland was born in Lansing, Mich., in 1967. Like so many Michiganders of his generation, he now lives in Chicago, Ill. His upcoming book, "Nothin' But Blue Skies: The Heyday, Hard Times and Hopes of America's Industrial Heartland," which will be released in May 2013 by Bloomsbury Press, was inspired by seeing the Fisher Body plant across the street from his old high school torn down. After getting his start in journalism at the Lansing State Journal, he later worked as a staff writer for the Chicago Reader. His book "The Third Coast: Sailors, Strippers, Fishermen, Folksingers, Long-Haired Ojibway Painters and God-Save-the-Queen Monarchists of the Great Lakes" won the 2008 Great Lakes Book Award in General Nonfiction. Ted's writing has also appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Columbia Journalism Review, Salon, Slate, and The Nation.

Customer Reviews

I read this one all the way to the end in just two days!
Yooper39
In a few deft strokes and with lively dialogue, we learn about Yuri's family in Latvia, about life on a Great Lakes freighter and about the perks of life as a seaman.
Joyce Mackenzie
The author takes you on a fascinating tour of the Great Lakes, discovering people and places that make this part of the Midwest so unique.
R. Ellenstein

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lorilee J Craker on November 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book for my husband, and swiped it from him one night when I had nothing to read. To my surprise, I couldn't put it down. Chapter by chapter, the author paints a colorful and enchanting portrait of grand, sometimes deadly lakes, fascinating places, and even more captivating people. As a 16-year resident of Michigan, I found I had been to many of the places McClelland describes, yet with his keenly observed eye for detail and story, he uncovered these places in wonderful ways and made me want to go back!
I loved the quirky people along the way; indeed, this is a book of travel essays that reads like a novel.
McClelland is a writer's writer, a droll and witty wordsmith whose writing isn't pretentious but is very good. I would call this book a true find, and would recommend this to anyone who likes to curl up in a chair and get lost in a story (or 20 stories!). Especially, "The Third Coast" will stir pride in anyone who lives on or near the great, Great Lakes.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. Ellenstein on October 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The author takes you on a fascinating tour of the Great Lakes, discovering people and places that make this part of the Midwest so unique. As a lifelong Michigan resident and frequent visitor to Canada, Mr. McClelland's portrayal of the residents of the Great Lakes was spot on, and I often found myself laughing out loud at the quirkiness of their behavior. This book is essential for anyone looking to travel this section of the world, or at least learn about the culture and its origin. I couldn't put it down!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Kleine on February 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book immensely. McClelland circles all of the Great Lakes, finding interesting people and places and putting them into cultural and historical context. The book is beautifully written, funny, and insightful. I am a native of the Great Lakes region, but I don't think you have to be to appreciate the book. I actually found it to be a page-turner, wondering what the author was going to discover next.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By vic foerster on December 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
By Vic Foerster (Grand Rapids, MI USA)

Starting from his lakeside apartment in Chicago, Ted McClelland goes for a drive--a long drive. With the blessing of his publisher, McClelland goes in search of what he calls the "Fresh Water Nation." Always keeping the water to his right, he circumnavigates every Great Lake, a coastline longer than the entire Eastern and Western seaboards combined.

The Third Coast: Sailors, Strippers, Fishermen, Folksingers, Long-Haired Ojibway Painters, and God-Save-the-Queen Monarchists, is a contemporary look at the people who live around the Great Lakes. Suspecting we have as distinctive a culture as the Deep South or California, he seeks out individuals who reflect that culture, and as the title suggests, Mr. McClelland has a knack for finding the more interesting residents.

He discovers that butchers are celebrities in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin and that Garrison Keeler is a superstar in St. Paul, Minnesota, a state that's the home of progressive politics; i.e. Hubert Humphrey, Gene McCarthy and ... Bob Dylan. Traveling the remote north shore of Lake Superior, he learns that two of Canada's largest cities--Thunder Bay and Sault Ste. Marie, border the shore that most Americans think of as inside the Arctic Circle, and that to Canadians, the north shore of Lake Erie is the "deep south." He learns that the south shore of Lake Ontario is a laboratory for social progress--the jump off spot for the Underground Railroad, and home of women's suffrage and temperance.

Attending a Styx / REO Speedwagon concert in Cleveland, he recalls how arena rock bands, Davey & Goliath morality cartoons, and Great Lake mariners are icons of the area's culture.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joyce Mackenzie on February 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Do not read this book if you are expecting glossy photos, printed on glossy paper, depicting glossy photo ops of landscape, featuring glossy people and all this bundled up into glossy words.

Do read this book if you dare to take a fascinating journey into a familiar yet strangely unfamiliar parallel universe not of the rich or famous but nevertheless of lives well lived. The paper is thin, the photos are black and white and grainy but the people you will meet are beyond the boundaries of glossy tourism.

Starting with Chicago, McLelland eschews its famous architecture and its famous celebrities. Instead, he writes about its East Side where you meet the Great Lakes freighter Neva Trader, its Russian captain Oleg Mitirevs and Latvian seaman Fjodorov Jurigis ( known as Yuri to his shipmates ). With wit and humour McLelland describes Yuri's shopping expedition where he buys gifts for those at home. In a few deft strokes and with lively dialogue, we learn about Yuri's family in Latvia, about life on a Great Lakes freighter and about the perks of life as a seaman. Growing up in Windsor where the freighters on the Detroit River feel close enough to touch, my speculations of where they came from or where they were going were never addressed as vividly as now. Yuri feels like an old friend thanks to McLelland.

Moving to Milwaukee, we meet eighty year old Marcy Skoronski, owner of the Holler House tavern on Milwaukee's south side. This tavern houses two active 1908 bowling alleys in the basement. Now there's a slice of forgotten history. She too comes to life with her statement, "I gotta sit down, 'cause I got a hangover." And this is just the beginning of a journey around the Great Lakes from Lake Superior to Lake Ontario.

The Third Coast is addictive.
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