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Tsunami: The Newfoundland Tidal Wave…

Tsunami: The Newfoundland Tidal Wave Disaster

by Maura Hanrahan

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This book tells the story of a little-known chapter in Newfoundland’s history (little known, at least, to those outside of Newfoundland): a tsunami that occurred on November 18, 1929, devastating communities on the Burin Peninsula, at the southern end of Newfoundland. The wave took out livelihoods, food stores for the winter, and residents. It also happened one month after the stock market crash that would be seen as the start of the Great Depression.

The author was able to gather personal testimony from many survivors of the disaster, which was helpful. However, the accounts became repetitive after a while—not in the sense of all the stories sounding the same, but in literally the same story being told over and over again. And it wasn’t until the Afterword that it became apparent that conversations had been reconstructed. I *thought* some of the dialogue between the government officials in particular seemed a bit exposition-y.

I wouldn’t necessarily dissuade anyone from reading this, but I’m not about to go pressing copies into everyone’s hands either. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Aug 3, 2017 |
In 1929, Newfoundland was still its own country; it wouldn’t join Canada for another 20 years. In November of that year, under the ocean closeby, there was an earthquake, followed shortly after by a tsunami that hit the small island nation – three successive waves that hit the shores of the Burin Peninsula the worst. Many small fishing communities in that area lost food and fuel that was meant to get them through the upcoming winter, they lost homes, livelihoods, and 27 people’s lives, many women and children. The following day, as communication lines were still down, a blizzard hit the area.

The author describes people and families as they feel the tremor, wonder what’s happened, then relax when it ends... then, as the waves first arrive. Later, she follows one nurse, Nurse Dorothy Cherry, as she travels (with two local men to accompany her) through the blizzard between the small communities to offer help. Later, the word finally gets out to a wider world, and more help arrives in the form of clothes, building supplies, food, coal.

This is a disaster I hadn’t known about. This book is mostly facts, but the author does add in dialogue and even invents some background for some key people when she couldn’t find out enough. There is a note at the end of the book to explain this. Very interesting and heartbreaking, in some cases. ( )
  LibraryCin | May 22, 2017 |
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