Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 by Stephen Puleo Download (read online) free eBook (PDF ePub Kindle)

Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919

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-foo

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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    Becky

    I couldn’t help but be incredulous about a “molasses flood.” I was doing research into what books I wanted to read for my “Winter 2013 Disaster Read,” which I originally intended to be about natural disasters, but quickly morphed into disasters in general, and I stumbled across this book. Lo and behold a week later it went onto the Kindle Daily Deal and I snatched it up. It’s almost like Amazon knew (eyes dart back and forth quickly). I originally had this idea of the molasses/cornflake lava tha

    Ok. I have now stopped and started writing this review three times. I’ll say this: reading about the Molasses Flood, the Cascade Avalanche, and the Hinckley Forest fires is really making me reconsider my stance on corporate freedoms vs. government regulation. In the end I don’t trust anybody, I think we need business to watch government, we need the government to watch businesses, but MOST importantly we need an actively involved citizenry watching both of them. There, please keep trolling to a minimum. It’s hard to read through history and not realize that man, really shitty people are often in charge of things, damn that Peter Principle and the Bottom Line. It’s also great to read through history and realize how many notable and amazing people there are in each generation, that are just trudging ahead with life until extraordinary circumstances call on them to be more.

    There were three things about this book that really hurt its rating:

    1)The captions on the photos (which were excellent finds) almost always gave away what was going to happen in the chapter. Now, I know its history, but this is the only book on this subject, it’s relatively hard to find out information on it, so there is some amount of mystery as to who dies, how the court rules, etc. That mystery was destroyed by the fact that a chapter would start with a picture, and the caption always gave away the ending. No spoilers please, even in history books.

    2)It was repetitive. I was really interested in all the stories about the Italian immigrants, but at several points the author restated the same statistic twice, or nearly the same paragraph as in a previous chapter, and it sort of felt cumbersome in the beginning.

    3) The book didn’t start with a clear thesis. I don’t normally care if a history book starts with a clear thesis, sometimes I enjoy being taken along for the ride, but with the plentiful side stories about anarchists, WWI soldiers, etc., and thesis clearly tying these thigns all together in the beginning would have been beneficial. Yes, by the middle of the story it was entirely clear that the author was describing the Anarchist turmoil because they were blamed by USIA (eyeroll) for the bombing of the tank, BUT in the beginning, that could have been more clear and would’ve made the initial chapters on the subject seem more coherent.

    Still I learned an extraordinary amount- the Anarchist reign of terror was something I’m not very familiar with, nor was I familiar with the antipathy towards Italian immigrants (there are strong correlations here between Italians and the assimilation of our modern day immigrants), and really, outside of cooking I had no idea about the practical and industrial applications of molasses. For all its weaknesses, it’s a very interesting book. The author’s strength is in the retelling of the damages and the loss of the low-wage earners in the area. He can write very compellingly of their trials during and after the flood. You sure to learn an unexpected amount.’

    And finally I leave you with this. USIA this is dedicated to you:

    Anarchists:

    To read my review of my Natural Disaster Themed read which included 10 different disaster books click link: Here!


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