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Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

20 out of 22 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

11 out of 14 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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  • 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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  • Posted February 23, 2014

    interesting period of history.

    This was a very well written story about an event that happened in the early years of the 20th century. I was not aware of this catastrophe. Very interesting.

    Good book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2014

    Fascinating

    Molasses is dangerous - who knew?

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  • Posted February 22, 2014

    Recommended especially for those interested in history

    I had never heard of the Great Boston Molasses Flood, so I was caught up in the interest of satisfying my curiosity. In general I found that the author presented most of the information clearly. What might have been a rather boring incident was woven with a clear background of where the United States stood from the political/historical aspects of the World War I and the growing political pressures of Great Britain and the European Allies who needed strong support from the USA. The U.S. Presidents that entered the picture during this whole time also were clearly described as to their political leaning and concerns. The book was long and at times I felt it dragged a little, but I continued to read, because the author had caught me up in his eagerness in finding out and proving who was the real guilty party of the whole affair. After the actual rupture of the tank the author told a very descriptive and intriguing tale about the injured and dying victims. He had provided good characterizations of many of the people who inhabited the area so the reader was able to build upon those and understand the depth of the injuries and losses. Puleo drew some starkly realistic word picture of the damage that was occurring, and also provided news photos of the damaged buildings. Before I read this book I had no idea of the use of molasses beyond the table use for it. After reading it I had a much greater knowledge about the use of molasses in arms production as well as alcohol manufacturing. Also included in Puleo's very thorough examination of the inhabitants of Boston. This included Boston in general and in particular the citizenry of the neighborhood around the area of the molasses tank. Since I am sometimes a slow reader it seemed to take me "forever" to read this book, but I am very glad that I did. It added much to my knowledge about the Boston area in particular and the time leading up to the World War I and beyond. Puleo included covering the trials of the disaster and this reached into the 1930s. The time I spent reading this book was time well spent.

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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 21, 2014

    Loved this book!

    Not my usual genre, but remember hearing years ago about the molasses flood so decided to check it out. Somewhat to my surprise, I really enjoyed the book and was fascinated with realizing how some things from that time period (politics, etc.)sound like they could be written today! History made very interesting and engrossing. Suggest checking it out even if you think you may not be interested. You could be pleasantly surprised as I was!

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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 April 27, 2014

    fascinating

    I highly recommend this book, especially if you enjoy
    Erik Larson books, or other well researched historical events written in easily digestible form.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2014

    If you care about what happened tothe tank...

    I about yawned myself to death trying to slog through this. I wanted to know what happened to the tank. The history just got in the way. Go to wikipedia for a synopsis.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2014

    Hnkabxkalxbs

    Que masa portah fkw gbbqi ll hdi qog demreco teranas do loral kf hhe.bdijdv xomaoosi

    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 22, 2011

    Terrific!

    What a great read.....who knew the Great Molasses Flood could be so interesting ( much less occurred)! I am typically a fiction person, but this was so well written, it captivated me

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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

    Great read!! Very informative

    Boston is one of my favorite cities. Have been there many times and never heard about the Molasses flood.

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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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  • Posted November 21, 2011

    I would Recommend this to all interested in historical events

    This was well written and gave me the overall perspective of being around when this happened.

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  • Posted November 21, 2011

    Very Interesting

    There is a lot of history in this book as well as the molasses tragedy. I enjoyed it very much.

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