Pierette Domenica Simpson, who survived the catastrophic Andrea Doria-Stockholm collision with her grandparents, has uncovered a cold case that vindicates Captain Piero Calamai of the Andrea Doria. Decades after her immigration, she is returning to her beloved village of Pranzalito, Italy, on a mission to expose the shocking truth surrounding the collision by producing a film based on her critically acclaimed book, Alive on the Andrea Doria! The Greatest Sea Rescue in History (L’ultima notte dell’Andrea Doria).
In 1956, Piera Domenica Burzio and her grandparents left their village of Pranzalito, near Torino, Italy, to begin a new life in America. They made their journey on the last voyage of the Andrea Doria. The family settled in Detroit, where Pierette attended Wayne State University, followed by graduate work in France.
Pierette pursued her love of foreign languages as a teacher of French and Spanish in the Farmington Public Schools and Detroit Country Day Schools.
Her passion for her heritage is the reason for her annual trips to Italy. Pierette’s family resides in Turin (Torino), which inspired her to initiate a cultural project between her two cities: Detroit and Turin. “Project Detur” was launched in 2014 in both cities. Watch on YouTube
With her chronicle, Alive on the Andrea Doria! The Greatest Sea Rescue in History, Pierette became the first woman to publish an all-inclusive book about one’s shipwreck, recounting both the human and scientist aspects of the Andrea Doria-Stockholm collision and sinking of the Italian luxury liner. In Italy, Sperling & Kupfer published her book as L’ultima notte dell’Andrea Doria. In 2012, Pierette released a young adult novel to inspire awareness in marine forensic science: I Was Shipwrecked on the Andrea Doria! The Titanic of the 1950s.
As an honorary member of the Marine Forensics Panel of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME), Pierette co-authored two technical papers on the sinking of the Andrea Doria with naval architect, William H. Garzke.
Her focus turned to film as she recently wrote and produced a docufilm on her publications, Andrea Doria: Are the Passengers Saved?” It is now heading to film festivals.
Pierette has appeared on American and Italian documentaries and on “CBS Sunday Morning”. She is interviewed frequently on radio, TV, and periodicals.
- Alive on the Andrea Doria! The Greatest Sea Rescue in History
- L’ultima notte dell’Andrea Doria (Sperling and Kupfer)
- I Was Shipwrecked on the Andrea Doria! The Titanic of the 1950s.
- “Andrea Doria”, a short story in The Titanic Diaries (UK)
- “The Moment It All Changed”, short story of transformation
- Thank God I…Stories of Inspiration
- Articles for periodicals
- “The Collegian Award” from Wayne State University
- “Piemontese Protagonista”, from Pierette’s native Italian region for her leadership and patriotism.
- Alive on the Andrea Doria received Honorable Mention from the New England Book Festival and the Hollywood Book Festivals for the print and audio versions respectively
- Amazon.com best-selling author in maritime science, ships and shipwrecks, and admiralty law
- Michigan Foreign Language Teacher of the Year (1994-95) by the Michigan Foreign Language Association
- Induction in the Farmington Public Schools Teachers’ Hall of Fame.