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Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 (2003)

de Stephen Puleo

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7373230,558 (3.95)115
History. Sociology. Nonfiction. HTML:

Around noon on January 15, 1919, a group of firefighters was playing cards in Boston's North End when they heard a tremendous crash. It was like roaring surf, one of them said later. Like a runaway two-horse team smashing through a fence, said another. A third firefighter jumped up from his chair to look out a window-"Oh my God!" he shouted to the other men, "Run!"

A 50-foot-tall steel tank filled with 2.3 million gallons of molasses had just collapsed on Boston's waterfront, disgorging its contents as a 15-foot-high wave of molasses that at its outset traveled at 35 miles an hour. It demolished wooden homes, even the brick fire station. The number of dead wasn't known for days. It would be years before a landmark court battle determined who was responsible for the disaster.

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Es mostren 1-5 de 32 (següent | mostra-les totes)
I finally read a book about the Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919, I can cross that off my bucket list!

I was thrilled to find a whole book about this disaster and even more excited when I started reading and found it was a lucid, informative account. The author takes pains to set the scene, including the global socioeconomic factors that led to the molasses tanks' shoddy construction and eventual collapse. The one issue I had with this book was that sometimes this penchant for scene setting strayed a bit too far from the narrative at hand. When the author is describing Italian anarchists for pages and pages one gets the sense he’s trying to fill space more than provide crucial information. This is a minor point however and overall this was a great historical account, I especially loved the tail end of the epilogue where the author recounts how the various people in the book spent the rest of their lives after the molasses flood. I love a good post credits, “where are they now?” paragraph to end a history book.
( )
  Autolycus21 | Oct 10, 2023 |
More than I really needed to know about the molasses flood in Boston in 1919 but I learned a lot about Boston and American history in the teens and twenties.

A minor nit: I was irked that he referred to the IWW as the "International" Workers of the World. The index even shows it that way. It's a common mistake, and I'm hopeful the other research was more careful. But it was INDUSTRIAL, dammit. The IWW was guilty of a lot, maybe, but choosing a stupidly redundant name was not one of their sins. See: https://iww.org/history/myths/1 and https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_Workers_of_the_World ( )
  steve02476 | Jan 3, 2023 |
Very good over all. The preamble to the disaster took me a little while to get through, but it paid off. The story of the event itself and the aftermath was well told and follow-up on all the characters was thorough. ( )
  cziering | Nov 27, 2022 |
This is a very interesting book. I had no knowledge of this horrible event and learned a lot reading this. The book is well written and kept me riveted from page 1. Read it is 2 days. Highly recommend. ( )
  Nefersw | Jan 14, 2022 |
Once you read this book, never again will you put any credence in that old saying, “as slow as molasses in January.” On January 15, 1919, a torrent of fast-moving, sticky molasses burst from its confines in a fifty-foot tank. Within seconds, the beginning tidal wave, 25 feet high and 160 feet wide, pulverized the entire waterfront and a half-mile swath of Commercial Street, where the tank had been located. This comprehensive and well-researched account of that tragedy is a gripping tale of those whose lives were snuffed out and of those who survived but suffered the ill effects for the remainder of their days. Author Stephen Puleo has written a clear and well-organized account of the flood in this book that reads like a novel but is all too true. He gives an overview of the history of that time period, of the politics and the anarchists who made headlines, of the flood itself, and of the trial that ensued. It’s a tragedy that changed lives, but it also changed laws and the way big business is viewed by society. Puleo has captured the heart of the neighborhood and the horror of the disaster waiting to unfold in this compelling read. ( )
  Maydacat | Feb 24, 2021 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 32 (següent | mostra-les totes)
The sections of the book devoted to actually recounting the flood and the trial are the best moments in the book, particularly the snippets of newspaper articles and court transcripts Puleo includes. Though these sections probably occupy just as many pages as the historical background, they are more interesting and have better dramatic pacing.
 
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History. Sociology. Nonfiction. HTML:

Around noon on January 15, 1919, a group of firefighters was playing cards in Boston's North End when they heard a tremendous crash. It was like roaring surf, one of them said later. Like a runaway two-horse team smashing through a fence, said another. A third firefighter jumped up from his chair to look out a window-"Oh my God!" he shouted to the other men, "Run!"

A 50-foot-tall steel tank filled with 2.3 million gallons of molasses had just collapsed on Boston's waterfront, disgorging its contents as a 15-foot-high wave of molasses that at its outset traveled at 35 miles an hour. It demolished wooden homes, even the brick fire station. The number of dead wasn't known for days. It would be years before a landmark court battle determined who was responsible for the disaster.

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