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

by Stephen Puleo

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3941527,176 (3.91)69
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Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
It's amazing how books, seemingly unrelated, can be linked. Last year I read a junior fiction book, 13 Hangmen by Art Corriveau. In it, through time travel, a boy in Boston meets other boys of his age who lived in his room over a long period of history. One of those boys relates the story of the Molasses Flood. I couldn't believe I had never heard of this event. And neither had anyone I talked to.

Dark Tide tells the story, beginning in December,1915, when a company is underway in its plans to build a 50 foot tall storage tank to hold molasses. It discusses at length the situation regarding the Italian immigrants that lived in Boston's North End, where the tank was being built. It talks about the molasses and Rum and Boston's participation and role in the slave trade, the move to needing molasses to make industrial alcohol to be used in munitions due to the beginning of WWI. It also discusses the unrest by anarchists who made frequent use of bombs throughout the country.

On January 15, 1919, the tank collapsed sending out a 15 feet high wave of 2.3 million gallons of molasses, weighing 26 million pounds, at 35 mph to sweep away houses, railroad elevated rails and a police station not to mention men, women, children and horses.

The rest of the book concerns the hearing that finally (in 1925) found United States Industrial Alcohol, one of America's biggest companies, guilty of negligence. USIA contended that the collapse was due to an anarchist's bomb, a claim that was shown to be faulty.

The book is well researched and well written. It flows in an easy manner. There are photographs taken in 1919 but it isn't easy to see details in them. ( )
1 vote mysterymax | Jan 26, 2014 |
What an interesting book on an unusual happening.
WHO'D a Thunk????
Sounds so weird that a massive wall of molasses (in January, no less)would burst out over Boston waterfront, but just look over your shoulder and suppose you saw a 15 ft wall of molasses flowing your way at 35 mph??? Gulp........
You can read about it on Wikipedia, but I recommend the book for it's well developed insights into the people affected, the particulars of the injuries/deaths/damage and just as much for the background on the politics and events in the country at the time that played into the reason and the aftermaths.
Fascinating! ( )
  CasaBooks | Apr 28, 2013 |
I was blown away by this, how could something this huge have happened and I didn't know? It also made me wish I knew all history, every single interesting event that ever happened. So, in 1919, there was a gigantic molasses flood in Boston, which is interesting enough. Add in the political climate of the times, with anarchists in every doorway, a changing Federal climate, corporations more concerned with profit than safety, and a bunch of hard-working people doing their level best to keep their families afloat while the economy was in a slump... and it's a lot like today, only with horses and steam engines. Well-written and fascinating- but intermittently discursive in the interests of giving a complete picture of the era. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
Super-interesting & really quite well-written. I totally need to explore the North End more. I might wait for spring, though. ( )
  cat-ballou | Apr 2, 2013 |
If you're a Bostonian, from Massachusetts, or a trivia fan, this is a book you'll absolutely want to read. legallypuzzled's review explains in detail the story but put simply, this is a really good book to read - and will provide you with a GREAT story to liven up a dull conversation at some point. "You know, I was reading about how they had this Molasses Flood in Boston...." It's hard to top, really. ( )
  minfo | Nov 7, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
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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Epigraph
Dedication
For Kate / Your eyes smile, my heart dances
First words
Isaac Gonzales knew what a terrible thing it was to be afraid at night.
Author's Note:  This is the first full accounting of the Great Boston Molasses Flood.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Haiku summary
Boston molasses

tank collapses; destroys lives.

Corporate neglect!

(librarianlk)
Molasses flood was

Sticky situation but

Nothing to laugh at.

(legallypuzzled)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0807050210, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:57:04 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

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. - Back cover.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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Beacon Press

An edition of this book was published by Beacon Press.

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