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Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

19 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919

This book tells the story of a disaster that has been kept in the shadows since its occurrence in 1919. Many native Bostonians do not even know of the immense molasses flood that destroyed their home town almost a century ago. This book is the first full accounting of...
This book tells the story of a disaster that has been kept in the shadows since its occurrence in 1919. Many native Bostonians do not even know of the immense molasses flood that destroyed their home town almost a century ago. This book is the first full accounting of the Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919. It starts by explaining the need for an enormous 2.3 million gallon molasses tank in Boston and continues through the extensive civil lawsuit that followed a decade after the flood. The first few chapters of this book are written in the eyes of a few workers that helped build and oversee the production of the tank. The reader gets an inside look at how the tank was completed, the dangers of being a crew member for the tank and the reason that caused a tragedy where twenty-one innocent people lost their lives.
The next few chapters touch upon life outside of the molasses tank. The 20th Century was the time of World War I, Prohibition, the anarchist movement, immigration and the expanding of big businesses. This book not only describes the Molasses Flood, it
gives incredible detail on other issues that were also present at the time of the flood.
Vast detail is given of every event that took place the day of the massive flood. A full chapter is dedicated to remembrance of those who lost their lives and were injured by the flood. Also, the extent of the damage is recalled and first-hand pictures are shown for enhancement. The final chapters show the public's reaction to the flood, as well as details about the multiyear lawsuit and an explanation of why the flood was considered "One of the worst catastrophes." This book was compelling, interesting and informative and it has made the Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 more well-known throughout the country. I would greatly recommend this book.

posted by ChocolateChip on May 18, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

9 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

The Dark Tide: The Great Molasses Flood of 1919

This novel tells the story of the 1919 molasses flood in Boston. A molasses holding tank was built on the commercial street wharf. It had the ability to hold about 26 million gallons of molasses. On January 15, 1919 2.3 million gallons of molasses flood Boston's North E...
This novel tells the story of the 1919 molasses flood in Boston. A molasses holding tank was built on the commercial street wharf. It had the ability to hold about 26 million gallons of molasses. On January 15, 1919 2.3 million gallons of molasses flood Boston's North End. The cause of this flood was faulty engineering, and a gas bubble formed by the mixing of the cold molasses and warm molasses from a new shipment. The result is a four fronted 25 foot high, 160 foot wide tidal wave that caused catastrophic damage, and multiple deaths. All structures surrounding the tank were destroyed. It took a many, many hours of man power to clear the destruction, using salt water to cut the hardened molasses. It was headline news all over the country, and Boston has never seen a disaster quite like this since.

It is clear the amount of research that Puleo put into this book. He uses characters from all ranges of the spectrum. He incorporates many important landmarks and events in Boston. His book not only gives insight into the happenings of the molasses flood but also a picture of what Boston was like through many important events in American history. He talks of the effects of World War II on Boston, such as the gathering of Bostonians on the Boston Common before Wilson's speech in April 1917. His great knowledge of American history, and his extensive research of Boston's North End make for a informative and intimate novel. His characters are so diverse that it is hard not to relate to something or someone in this story. All New Englanders should read this novel, it shows the true Boston. It shows Bostonians coming together to help each other in a time when the city was greatly divided by heritage and class. This is a smart read, with great voice and meaning. This story needed to be told.

posted by Mel-NMRHS on January 15, 2009

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  • Posted October 27, 2013

    This is one of the most interesting books I have ever read. Part

    This is one of the most interesting books I have ever read. Parts are quite upsetting since people died fairly horrible deaths, but if you can get past that, it is worth it. It is so well written and so fascinating. I agree with others that it brings out all of the nuances of this disaster- class struggles, immigrant issues, the historical setting, corporate greed, etc.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2003

    Educational and captivating

    This book is not only entertaining but is also insightful to that period in time. The history and the events both nationally and locally enrich the setting of this story. I felt as though I was living in the moment. Highly recommended!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2003

    Excellent

    Reading this book is like hearing a story rather than reading history. It gives accurate details and explains the politics of the time, while telling the stories of some of the victims. Extremely entertaining for non-fiction.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 1, 2013

    I very much enjoyed the book. I thought that Stephen Puleo did a

    I very much enjoyed the book. I thought that Stephen Puleo did a very good job of introducing the very many different vantage points of the flood and of the events that had lead up to it. He talked about how much the company had needed the tank due to the huge demand from America’s allies fighting in WW1, as well as how this developed into faulty engineering because they were attempting to rush the completion of it. The beginning I thought was the most interesting when he was going through the workers point of view. Saying how a few of the workers had mentioned that the molasses tank was leaking heavily and constantly looking like it was going to collapse. As well as all the dangers that the workers had faced while building the tank, for a quick example one worker had fallen into the tank and had died. Also this showed how little concern the management had when building the tank because when they heard about it, they were still far more concerned with making sure it was completed on time then about any of the workers safety. Other than the molasses flood directly he also talked about the society in Boston at the time with the massive immigration of Italians to the area. And how many of them were anarchist. Many of the anarchists Italians were causing trouble with the construction because the molasses it was storing was being used to supply military operations in Europe, which they were largely against. This lead to them having to keep police around, out of fear of one of them going after it. Overall like I said I really enjoyed this book mainly because I enjoyed the history behind it. The molasses flood was also something I had never really been aware of before I read this.



    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 22, 2011

    Amazing read!

    Very interesting historical detail while still being an amazing story.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2012

    For Readers Who Wish to Learn & Apply the Wisdom of History.

    In today's political climate with the popularity of plans to further reduce government regulation of business, Dark Tide becomes a beacon of light regarding why regulations are needed & why some which have been removed should be reactivated. Yes, businesses are human, too, and as such they are subject to the same frailties and need the same firm limitations. The history of the great molasses flood in Boston in 1919 is not simply the chronicle of a disaster. It offers with superb journalistic & historical skill object lessons regarding not only regulatory needs but immigration problems that exist to this day & indicates solutions that history shows have been effective. In addition, Dark Tide tells its well-documented tale in a compelling narrative, a genuine page-turner.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2011

    A Boston tragedy!

    The story of a little remembered tragedy when in 1919 molasses flooded the waterfront area of the city. Very well written. Readers might also enjoy "A City So Grand" by the same author.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 13, 2012

    Recommend -

    A little known (to me) but important incident in Boston History.

    Stephen Puleo links this disaster to timely issues: Professional Competence and regulation; Corporate Greed and Responsibility; Class action lawsuits; and government corruption.

    Reads like a good novel.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 21, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Read this book!

    A fascinating account of one of the most little-known events in our history. Puleo has done a masterful job of weaving together fact and human interest to tell a tale of human suffering and corporate skulduggery. The parallels to the issues of today are many and unsettling. Heroes and villains enough for any reader!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2011

    Great book!

    This was a touching story about a very unusual event in Bostons history. It was well written and it was nice how real the characters were portrayed. I couldn't put the book down and I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes to read about historical events.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2014

    Interesting and informative

    I had never hear of this in history or perhaps forgotten it but it was very interesting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2014

    Great read!

    I first learned about the Boston Molasses Flood on a Duck Tour of the city. It was only briefly mentioned though and I have wanted to know more for years. This book explains historical facts and describes human tragedy in a most compelling way. I love the fact that I learned so much about an amazing event in a tumultuous time in such an entertaining way!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2014

    Fascinating

    Molasses is dangerous - who knew?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2014

    A Unique Perspective

    A fun, well-researched historical tale of an odd chapter in Boston history. Worth the time and the money!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2014

    great storytelling

    loved the telling of an interesting story thru characters - definietly brought the story to life....... had vaguely heard about the molasses flood beforehand, now have a good understanding of a very wierd story

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2014

    eaglejal28

    One of the most interesting historical books i have read very well researched easy to read fast moveing nothing boreing here a true story very few people are aware of

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2014

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    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 1, 2012

    Facsinating reading! Well written and researched.

    Facsinating reading! Well written and researched.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    What a great story to bring history to life. When I first started to read I did not know it was a true story. I throughly enjoyed this book.

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  • Posted November 21, 2011

    good book on little known disaster

    This is a very factual account of a little known disaster. It is well written and easy to read. I would highly recommend it.

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