S.S. Badger: The Lake Michigan Carferry
 Art Chavez

Since the Badger, which carries cars and passengers across Lake Michigan during the warmer months, marked its 50th anniversary in 2003, this volume is especially timely.  As with most Arcadia books, this one relies heaviest on historic photos to tell its story, and there are some gems included, not only of the Badger but of the train and auto ferries that preceded her in the cross-lake trade. Also reproduced are old advertising brochures, tickets, christening programs and the like from Badger and her fleetmates, as well as greatly reduced but still legible Badger blueprints.

Chavez has done a first-rate job writing about a subject he obviously knows well.  This book is a must, not only for lake ship and ferry fans, but for train buffs as well, since the Badger was originally built for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad. Picking it up may be a bit of a challenge in the short term so far we've only spotted it in shops at Ludington, Mich., home port of the Badger, and in the Boatique, the gift shop onboard the vessel.

Arcadia Publishing (128 pages, paperbound, $19.99)