Massachusetts Disasters: True Stories of Tragedy and Survival

Overview

Twenty of Massachusetts' most catastrophic incidents due to natural and other causes are recounted here. Featured are the 1874 Mill River flood, the blizzard of 1888, the Great Molasses Flood of 1919 in Boston's North End, the 1953 Worcester tornado, and four shipwrecks, including the crash of the passenger steamer City of Columbus off Martha's Vineyard in January 1884.

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Overview

Twenty of Massachusetts' most catastrophic incidents due to natural and other causes are recounted here. Featured are the 1874 Mill River flood, the blizzard of 1888, the Great Molasses Flood of 1919 in Boston's North End, the 1953 Worcester tornado, and four shipwrecks, including the crash of the passenger steamer City of Columbus off Martha's Vineyard in January 1884.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
It Happened in Massachusetts author Larry Pletcher retells the stories of 20 Bay State catastrophes. Among the disasters rendered are the Blizzard of 1888, the 1953 Worcester tornado, the 1874 Mill River flood, and the nearly unbelievable Great Molasses Flood of 1919. Disasters and Heroic Rescues of Massachusetts also contains accounts of four local shipwrecks.
KLIATT - Maureen Griffin
The 21 disasters here are varied and gripping. Shipwrecks from 1861 to 1976 include the Maritania, the Eveline Treat, the City of Columbus, the Andrea Doria, and the Argo Merchant. Railroad disasters are represented by the 1871 Eastern Railroad crash and the Back Bay collision in 1990. The 1872 Boston Great Fire and the Coconut Grove fire 70 years later are recalled in graphic detail, and the less well-known collapses of a Dedham/Boston bridge in 1887 and a Brighton condominium building in 1971 are described clearly. Violent storms include the 1888 blizzard in the central part of the Commonwealth and the 1978 blizzard nearer Boston, the 1938 hurricane in New England and the 1953 Worcester tornado. F loods are also described, from the Mill River in 1874 to Boston's great molasses flood in 1919, the dam collapse in Becket in 1927 and the Connecticut River in 1936. The Spanish Influenza of 1918 and the U-boat attack on Cape Cod that same year add to the collection. There is a useful map identifying each place by chapter number. Most of the accounts are illustrated, and a useful bibliography indicates extensive use of contemporary newspaper articles. Many of these disasters have interest beyond Massachusetts. In each, the author focuses on valiant efforts to save lives and property. Learning about the work of these true heroes will appeal to many readers.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780762739882
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/1/2006
  • Series: Disasters Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 679,487
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Larry Pletcher has investigated the natural treasures and history of New England for nearly thirty years. After graduating from Princeton University and receiving an advanced degree from UCLA, Larry returned east and combined a professional career with freelance writing, photography, and avid exploration. A resident of Warner, New Hampshire, where he lives with his wife and daughter, Larry has called an old New England farmhouse home since 1975. He is the author of It Happened in Massachusetts and several outdoor recreation guides.

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Read an Excerpt

Each gallon of thick molasses weighed 11.75 pounds. In the blink of an eye, as much as twenty-seven million pounds of molasses was on the loose. A tidal wave 30 feet or higher gushed toward the tenements and houses on Copps Hill Terrace. After the wave washed up against the strong brick structures at the base of the hill, it swirled with deadly force back toward the harbor.

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Table of Contents

(1) The Sinking of the Maritana, 1861 (2) The Wreck of the Eveline Treat, 1865 (3) Crash on the Eastern Railroad, 1871 (4) The Great Boston Fire, 1872 (5) Failure of the Williamsburg Dam, 1874 (6) The City of Columbus Tragedy, 1884 (7) The Collapse of Bussey Bridge, 1887 (8) Trapped by a Blizzard, 1888 (9) The Spanish Influenza, 1918 (10) U-Boat Attack on Cape Cod (11) The Great Molasses Flood, 1919 (12) The Failure of the Wheeler Dam, 1927 (13) The Connecticut River Floods, 1936 (14) The New England Hurricane, 1938 (15) The Cocoanut Grove Fire, 1942 (16) The Worcestor Tornado, 1953 (17) The Sinking of the Andrea Doria, 1956 (18) Building Collapse in Brighton, 1971 (19) The Sinking of the Argo Merchant, 1976 (20) The Great Whiteout, 1978 (21) Collision at Back Bay Station, 1990 (22) Bibliography (23) About the Author

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