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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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4321924,401 (3.92)79
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Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
An excellent account of a Boston disaster. ( )
  niquetteb | Jul 10, 2015 |
Interesting, well-written, and in depth on a matter I knew a little about but only a little - it's a couple verses in a favorite song I know (Molasses Rum, which I learned from the band Schooner Fare). It does focus strongly on the civil trial that (more-or-less) ended the matter - partly, I suspect, because the transcripts of the trial were his primary source material. The beginning is more interesting to me, as it sets the scene for the collapse of the molasses tank - it's a little hard to keep track, since he keeps jumping back and forth in time, but other than that it's quite good. We get to see the people and businesses around the tank, and understand how it affected them while it still stood; then, about 2/3rds of the way through the book, the tank actually collapses and a good long chunk of the book details the effects of the wave of molasses. We get to see those who were saved, and those who weren't, and their families; the physical destruction caused by the molasses, and the mental and emotional strain of the disaster. The final part focuses on the civil trial; the man who presided, Ogden, has already been described at several points in the book (part of that jumping back and forth) before the trial is detailed. I learned a lot, both about the molasses flood and about the culture of the time and place. Glad I read it. ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Mar 19, 2015 |
A well written book on a terrible crisis, at a roaring time. It shares what happens when big business cuts corners in the name of progress. Progress exploded in their pockets. ( )
  Gregorio_Roth | Dec 5, 2014 |
A well written book on a terrible crisis, at a roaring time. It shares what happens when big business cuts corners in the name of progress. Progress exploded in their pockets. ( )
  Gregorio_Roth | Dec 5, 2014 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (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.)
(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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:54 -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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