Stephen Puleo comes to the Boston Public Library after his book, Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919, was chosen by the people of Boston as the one book that the entire city should read. More than 8,000 votes were cast in an online poll created by Boston.com and The Boston Globe to identify a book for a citywide reading program.
The Great Boston Molasses Flood claimed the lives of 21 people and caused widespread destruction. Shortly after noon on January 15, 1919, a 50-foot-tall steel tank filled with 2.3 million gallons of molasses collapsed on Boston’s waterfront, disgorging its contents in a 15-foot-high wave of molasses that traveled at 35 miles per hour. For the first time, the story of the flood is told in its full historical context, from the tank’s construction in 1915 through the multiyear lawsuit that followed the disaster. Dark Tide uses the gripping drama of the flood to examine the sweeping changes brought about by World War I, Prohibition, the anarchist movement, immigration, and the expanding role of big business in society. It’s also a chronicle of the courage of ordinary people, from the firemen caught in an unimaginable catastrophe to the soldier-lawyer who presided over the lawsuit with heroic impartiality.
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