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Blizzard of Glass: The Halifax Explosion of 1917 Hardcover – November 22, 2011
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“The well-designed volume clearly depicts the extent of the devastation in both words and photographs . . . . As usual, this author's source notes and use of primary sources serves as a model of nonfiction writing.” ―Shelf Awareness
“* Riveting.” ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Disasters make for gripping reading, and this account of the huge explosion of a munitions ship and its devastating effects in Halifax Harbor, Canada, in 1917 tells the dramatic history with clear detailed facts.” ―Booklist
“Halifax does indeed have a story to tell, but Walker once again proves that it's her consummate gifts as a storyteller that breathe life into the tale.” ―The Horn Book
“This tragic, but well-told story belongs in most collections.” ―School Library Journal
About the Author
Sally Walker is the author of Written in Bone, Fossil Fish Found Alive, and Secrets of a Civil War Submarine, which was awarded a Sibert Medal. She lives in Illinois.
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Top Customer Reviews
I had honestly never heard of this disaster. I came across it when reviewing Titanic books, and it looked interesting. The undertaker who helped record personal information and try to identify bodies from the Titanic site also had the same job in Halifax, where he lived, so I found that Titanic tie in very interesting. I liked the way the book was written. It had me invested in the lives of all of the people living there. I tore through the book very quickly, in less than 2 hours. Yes, I know it isn't geared toward a grown woman like myself, but I would recommend it to many adults. Children probably 4th grade and up who enjoy a good nonfiction story would like this one. Also, it is a great book to give to someone interested in the Titanic that is looking for something different to read. It is filled with pictures that bring the story even more to life. Like I said, I had never heard of the Halifax explosion before picking up this book, so I have nothing else to compare it to, but it seems very factual. Overall, great book!
Anyone who loves history and tales of courage during a disaster, will find this fascinating book hard to put down. The author's energy captures your attention straight through the climax, and then the closing chapters' details leave you with an understanding of how the people of Halifax rebuilt their beloved city.
Any mature reader, ages 10 to adult, would enjoy this intense and informative narrative.
Review by Young Mensan Owen D., age 11
On December 6, 1917 two ships ran into each other in Halifax Harbour. One of them was carrying explosives. After in ran aground, several brave souls attempted to squelch the fire but failed. The result is the worst explosion pre-atomic bomb. The book does a great job of staying neutral on who was to blame and also explains and illustrates how the explosion came to happen in a logical way that kids can understand. The diagrams certainly help, along with all the pictures that set the time and place for those of us who are much too young to have a clue what 1917 might look like.
I like that the book moved sequentially. Walker keeps some level of suspense throughout as the race for survival and finding one's lost loved ones is on. The first third of the book talks most about the explosion and the final two thirds is about picking up the pieces. I was a bit confused as to who was related to who since so many names are thrown at you in the first part of the book and had to keep looking back to the family trees at the front by the end. Despite that, telling the story through the children who survived makes the book more relatable for the intended audience. The author even provides a good deal of source notes, which is a tip-off that she did her work and didn't just crib from other sources, a sign of a good nonfiction book.
Well done book on an event that many people probably do not even realize happened.
This book by Sally Walker,gives a brief summary of the explosion,but deals more with the experiences of 5 families who were affected with the terrible disaster and how it forever affected their lives.
This book is more suited to younger readers or even adult readers who have never heard about this terrible disaster.The author met with the surviving members of these families and through these meetings brings out the personal sides of their stories.These interviews were conducted recently,as opposed to the time this event occurred,nearly 100 years ago.
I rated this book 5*'s because it is a good brief summary of the event;not because it deals with all the information ,details of what happened nor details of the damage and suffering or even the inquiries that took place to place blame,For that,there are other books such as "The Town That Died",by Michael J. Bird or "The Curse of the Narrows",by Laura M.MacDonald that give much more details and which I reviewed on December 5,2009.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Heard about this historical event on NPR and wanted to learn more. This book is an excellent recap of the disaster. Read morePublished 7 days ago by In Limbo
Extremely informative and very well written. Excellent details about early Acadian life.Published 3 months ago by Michael R. Mccabe
Awesome book explaining the munitions boat that exploded in Halifax Harbour. Definitely recommend it especially to those who will visit Nova Scotia any time soon.Published 11 months ago by Andrina
We are traveling to Halifax this next fall so I bought this to find out some background behind the city. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Ray Wishart
I got this book as a background for a visit to Halifax. I wanted to have some knowledge about the event and its place in the history of the town. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Jane H Grady