Published November 7th 2017 by HarperAudio
Being a Canadian, I have always wanted to read a book about this tragedy. Finding it available in audiobook from my library made it a great time to listen to it and I am very glad I did. It will not be for everyone, but a must read/listen for any Canadian.
The book opens with an amazing Christmas Tree being gifted to the people of Boston. It is done every year since the explosion, a simple thank you for everything they did to assist Haligonians in this terrible time. This book tells what is happening in the world at the time and how it relates to what happened, or how it was directly involved in the happenings. Some of this is a bit dry, but it is the courageous, heroic, and morally astounding stories and selfless acts of goodwill and generosity that happened after this catastrophic event that make this book. Hearing the stories leading up to the explosion, during the event and afterwards were heart breaking. So many lives lost or crippled forever. So many families wiped out. But, human nature tells us to rise up, band together and help one another and that is what happened, not only from Boston, but all over the world. This is that story.
About the Book: From New York Times bestselling author John U. Bacon, a gripping narrative history of the largest manmade detonation prior to Hiroshima: in 1917 a ship laden with the most explosives ever packed on a vessel sailed out of Brooklyn’s harbor for the battlegrounds of World War I; when it stopped in Halifax, Nova Scotia, an extraordinary disaster awaited. . . .
On Monday, December 3, 1917, the French freighter SS Mont-Blanc set sail from Brooklyn carrying the largest cache of explosives ever loaded onto a ship, including 2,300 tons of picric acid, an unstable, poisonous chemical more powerful than TNT. The U.S. had just recently entered World War I, and the ordnance was bound for the battlefields of France, to help the Allies break the grueling stalemate that had protracted the fighting for nearly four demoralizing years. The explosives were so dangerous that Captain Aimé Le Medec took unprecedented safety measures, including banning the crew from smoking, lighting matches, or even touching a drop of liquor.
Sailing north, the Mont-Blanc faced deadly danger, enduring a terrifying snowstorm off the coast of Maine and evading stealthy enemy U-boats hunting the waters of the Atlantic. But it was in Nova Scotia that an extraordinary disaster awaited. As the Mont-Blanc waited to dock in Halifax, it was struck by a Norwegian relief ship, the Imo, charging out of port. A small fire on the freighter’s deck caused by the impact ignited the explosives below, resulting in a horrific blast that, in one fifteenth of a second, leveled 325 acres of Halifax—killing more than 1,000 people and wounding 9,000 more.
In this definitive account, Bacon combines research and eyewitness accounts to re-create the tragedy and its aftermath, including the international effort to rebuild the devastated port city. As he brings to light one of the most dramatic incidents of the twentieth century, Bacon explores the long shadow this first “weapon of mass destruction” would cast on the future of nuclear warfare— crucial insights and understanding relevant to us today.
About the Author: John U. Bacon has written for Time, The New York Times, and ESPN Magazine, among other publications, earning national honors. He is the author of five books on sports and business, including Three and Out, Bo’s Lasting Lessons (with Bo Schembechler), a New York Times and Wall Street Journal business bestseller. Bacon teaches at Northwestern University and the University of Michigan and is a popular public speaker.