Book Review: “Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes” by John Kotzian

sky pilot of the great lakes coverAnyone interested in the personal history, genealogy, the history of the Great Lakes, maritime history, lighthouses, Michigan history, or the story of someone who dedicates his life to serving others, sometimes at his own peril, will want to read “Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes” by John Kotzian. “Sky Pilot” is a labor of love about Kotzian’s great-great-grandfather and Kotzian’s first book. “Sky Pilot” meant chaplain in sailor’s slang. “Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes” was a nickname given to Reverend William H. Law by the sailors, lighthouse keepers and others he served who revered him.

After being rescued from Lake Huron by a Life-Saving Service crew, Rev. Law devoted his life to helping others, oftentimes with great bravery and personal cost and sacrifice. Rev. Law was a Baptist minister and a Canadian immigrant. He was a hero who saved countless lives through his life-saving missions and tireless work the better the lives of others. His story may have otherwise been forgotten were it not for this book. He was also a writer whose writing provided much needed entertainment for lighthouse keepers who led otherwise mundane lives.

“I have so many good things to say in writing about others that I can’t think of writing about such common things in my own life.” -Rev. William H. Law, 1906

“Sky Pilot” is a wonderful example of how to incorporate genealogy into personal history. It was extensively researched and incorporated quotes from the works of Rev. Law, as well as naturalization records, census records, homestead applications, U.S. Congress records, Baptist archive records, compiled interviews, letters, correspondence, and published histories.

Visit Kotzian’s website to order an autographed copy of “Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes” and read more about this story at The book is also available at, Avery Color Studios, Foghorn Publishing, Barnes & Noble and retail locations in the Great Lakes Region.

Disclaimer: I know John Kotzian. He did not pay me to write this review.