The Great Halifax Explosion: A World War I Story of Treachery, Tragedy, and Extraordinary Heroism by John U. Bacon

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The Great Halifax Explosion: A World War I Story of Treachery, Tragedy, and Extraordinary Heroism Read Online Free - From the acclaimed New York Times bestselling author, a gripping narrative-nonfiction account of the world’s largest manmade explosion before the atomic bomb. In December 1917, a freighter carrying 3,000 tons of explosives sailed from Brooklyn bound for the trenches of World War I—en route, a cataclysmic disaster awaited . . .

Entering World War I’s fourth demoralizing year, the Allies hoped to break the grueling stalemate by sending thousands of fresh American troops and more munitions than ever to the trenches of France. Before the French freighter Mont-Blanc set sail from Brooklyn on December 1, 1917, with a staggering 3,000 tons of explosives, the captain banned his crew from lighting a single match, and secured the volatile cargo with copper nails because they don’t spark when struck.

For four harrowing days, the floating powder keg bobbed up the Eastern seaboard, plowing through a wicked snowstorm and waters infested with German U-Boats, which had already torpedoed a thousand Allied ships that year alone. On December 6, the exhausted crew finally slipped into Halifax Harbour—just as the relief ship Imo was rushing to leave. At 8:45 a.m., the Imo struck the Mont-Blanc’s bow, knocking over barrels of airplane fuel. Fire swept across the decks, sending the Mont-Blanc’s crew scurrying to their lifeboats, while Halifax longshoremen, office workers, and schoolchildren walked down to watch it burn.

At 9:04:35 a.m., the Mont-Blanc erupted, leveling 2.5 square miles of Halifax, killing 2,000 people, and wounding 9,000 more—all in one-fifteenth of a second.

In this definitive account, bestselling author John U. Bacon recreates the recklessness that caused the tragedy, the selfless rescue efforts that saved thousands, and the inspiring resilience that rebuilt the town. Just hours after the explosion, Boston alone sent 100 doctors, 300 nurses, and a million dollars. The explosion would revolutionize ophthalmology and pediatrics; transform Canada and the U.S. from adversaries to allies; and show J. Robert Oppenheimer, who studied Halifax closely, how much destruction an atomic bomb could inflict on a city.

Bacon brings to light one of the most dramatic events of the twentieth century, exploring the long shadow the world’s first “weapon of mass destruction” still casts on our world today.

The Great Halifax Explosion includes 25 black-and-white photos.

Title : The Great Halifax Explosion: A World War I Story of Treachery, Tragedy, and Extraordinary Heroism
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 0062666533
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 432 pages


Matt rated it ★★★★☆

January 03, 2018

“The detonation..took one-fifteenth of a second, five times faster than the blink of an eye. The epicenter of the explosion instantaneously shot up to 9,000 degrees Fahrenheit, about six times hotter than molten lava…The explosion started in the gigantic steel casement of the cargo hold, which ha...

Truman32 rated it ★★★★☆

February 06, 2018

This past November, a 53-foot-tall white spruce Christmas tree was chopped down in Nova Scotia by burly Canadian lumberjacks, their beards thick, curly and smelling vaguely of maple syrup, and then shipped down to Boston for their annual holiday lighting ceremony on Boston Common. This gifting of...

Steven rated it ★★★★★

December 20, 2017

John U. Bacon’s thoughtful and detailed approach in his new book THE GREAT HALIFAX EXPLOSION: A WORLD WAR I STORY OF TREACHERY, TRAGEDY, AND EXTRAORDINARY HEROISM results in one of the best “disaster” monographs in recent memory. The author’s approach is based on empathy and what appears to be a...

Arnis rated it ★★★★★

December 20, 2017

Scott rated it ★★★★★

January 26, 2018

I was affected by this book, and I realized upon finishing it a few days ago that I was having difficulty composing a review for it. I guess it was in part because the story is about a horrible, life-altering situation - and we have plenty of those to go around these days - but I'd like to believ...

Ann rated it ★★★★☆

January 05, 2018

Resident of Halifax for 7 years during the 1950's while attending school, heard much about the 'Great Explosion' as well as still seeing some evidence of the damage done. Didn't understand much about the history and the scope, was simply 'aware'. This book very well researched, very well written;...

Christina rated it ★★★★★

January 18, 2018

This was an amazing, well-written book of a forgotten story! Like any historical book it can take a bit to set the stage with characters and the time period. But as I got into the story I could hardly stop listening! The most amazing things I learned were how this event bridged relations between...

Kristy rated it ★★★★☆

January 10, 2018

I first heard of the Halifax explosion some time during my first Christmas in Boston, 2013. There was a short blurb on the news regarding the arrival of the Boston Common Christmas Tree from Nova Scotia, and that it was a gift from Canada in thanks for help after an explosion in Halifax. That was...

Carolyn rated it ★★★☆☆

November 11, 2017

This is a very well researched and authoritative account of the deadly and destructive Halifax explosion, the worst man made explosion prior to Hiroshima. I thought the first part of the book read too much like a textbook account of historic events. It covered not only the history of Halifax, but...

Joyce rated it ★★★★☆

December 10, 2017

Over the years I've come across references to this but I never knew the details. This book provides them. Bacon has done extensive research and includes material from eye-witness accounts to compile this account, rich in detail as well as human interest with profiles of Haligonians. The first par...

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