On December 6, 1917, two ships, the Belgian supply ship Mont-Blanc and the Norwegian ship Imo collided in the harbor in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The resulting explosion was the most powerful manmade explosion on a human population excepting Nagasaki and Hiroshima, a force of 2.9 kilotons of TNT. Over 3,000 people lost their lives, and many more were wounded. Huge swathes of the city were flattened, reduced to rubble and burying survivors beneath the destruction. Mr. Bacon's wonderful book was recommended to me by my two sisters and my brother-in-law (his grandfather Ernest Barss is one of the people mentioned in the book). It is an amazing story of resilience and courage as well as the willingness of many to help the survivors. Boston, Massachusetts sent trains and boats filled with supplies and personnel to help; as a result, Halifax has every year since sent a Christmas tree to be erected in that city. A blizzard came in the day after the explosion and just made it even harder for the survivors and those trying to help them. It was a truly astounding event and I'm surprised how little I knew about it. The book mentions how cruise boats today will visit the cemetery where Titanic victims are buried, but nothing is told to them about the Halifax Explosion. That was certainly my experience several years ago when I visited that lovely city. But I guess this book gives me a reason to go back and visit with new eyes. The author has a very comfortable writing style with a good eye for the small details that enhance the story. His narrative doesn't take away from the horror of the event but also addresses the acts of courage that took place. This is probably best exemplified by this quote from the book: "Tragedy comes quick and loud, while the small acts of decency that follow come slowly and quietly."
About This Item
NATIONAL BESTSELLER - The riveting, tick-tock account of the largest manmade explosion in history prior to the atomic bomb, and the equally astonishing tales of survival and heroism that emerged from the ashes, from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author John U. Bacon
After steaming out of New York City on December 1, 1917, laden with a staggering three thousand tons of TNT and other explosives, the munitions ship Mont-Blanc fought its way up the Atlantic coast, through waters prowled by enemy U-boats. As it approached the lively port city of Halifax, Mont-Blanc's deadly cargo erupted with the force of 2.9 kilotons of TNT--the most powerful explosion ever visited on a human population, save for HIroshima and Nagasaki. Mont-Blanc was vaporized in one fifteenth of a second; a shockwave leveled the surrounding city. Next came a thirty-five-foot tsunami. Most astounding of all, however, were the incredible tales of survival and heroism that soon emerged from the rubble.
This is the unforgettable story told in John U. Bacon's The Great Halifax Explosion a ticktock account of fateful decisions that led to doom, the human faces of the blast's 11,000 casualties, and the equally moving individual stories of those who lived and selflessly threw themselves into urgent rescue work that saved thousands.
The shocking scale of the disaster stunned the world, dominating global headlines even amid the calamity of the First World War. Hours after the blast, Boston sent trains and ships filled with doctors, medicine, and money. The explosion would revolutionize pediatric medicine; transform U.S.-Canadian relations; and provide physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, who studied the Halifax explosion closely when developing the atomic bomb, with history's only real-world case study demonstrating the lethal power of a weapon of mass destruction.
Mesmerizing and inspiring, Bacon's deeply-researched narrative brings to life the tragedy, bravery, and surprising afterlife of one of the most dramatic events of modern times.• Author: John U Bacon • ISBN:9780062666543 • Format:Paperback • Publication Date:2018-11-06
|Number of Pages|
John U Bacon
The Great Halifax Explosion
|Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)|
9.00 x 6.00 x 1.50 Inches
Customer reviews & ratings
On December 6, 1917, t...
I very seldom read non...
I very seldom read non-fiction but I was not familiar with this incident and the book had such good reviews, I was anxious to read it. The story is told from the perspective of people who survived. It's written chronologically so it gives the prelude, the collision, the explosion and the aftermath of this horrific incident. The detail given of the moment of the explosion gave me chills. An excellent, well-written book.
6 million pounds of ex...
6 million pounds of explosives loaded onto one ship with some avgas thrown on board to fill out the space. The careless way that this load was managed on nearly every level is boggling. The story of what happened to Halifax is impressive. A disaster of a fairly unique nature visited upon the city. This particular book does a serviceable job telling the story, but it is awkward at times.
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