It was Thanksgiving 1905 and thirty-one ships were on Lake Superior, making the season's last, daring run--a run old salts had warned against, but to no avail against the shipping companies' demands. What none of the sailors knew until it was far too late was that they would soon face the worst storm ever to hit the Great Lake, a storm that nearly half of their number would not survive. This is the story of that fateful storm, and of one of the worst shipping disasters in the nation's history. As the storm strikes without warning, readers are taken aboard the SS Mataafa as it crashes into Duluth's piers, half of the crew freezing to death overnight as the other half survives by dancing through the dark around bathtubs set ablaze with scuttled pieces of the ship--all while 10,000 Duluthians set bonfires on shore to guide ships to safety. Next we find ourselves aboard the SS Ira H. Owen, crashing into the cliff where Split Rock Lighthouse would later be built, too late for these men. And here too are the many ships, from Canadian shores to Michigan, where all hands were lost. It is a story drawn from the accounts of witnesses and survivors. It is a tale of people pitted against the elements, of a disaster so extreme that, in its wake, weather forecasting, shipbuilding, and compass-reading in light of the Iron Range's magnetism were forever changed.