In this volume, Puleo, a contributor to American History magazine, sets out to determine whether the collapse of a molasses tank that sent a tidal wave of 2.3 million gallons of the sticky liquid through Boston's North End and killed 21 people was the work of Italian anarchists or due to negligence by the tank's owner, United States Industrial Alcohol. Getting into the minds of the major players in the disaster-USIA suits, victims, witnesses, North End residents, politicians-he re-creates not only the scene but also the social, political and economic environments of the time that made the disaster more than just an industrial accident. While the collapse's aftermath is tragic, the story itself is not exactly gripping. More interesting are the tidbits of Boston's and America's history, such as the importance of molasses to all U.S. war efforts up to and including WWI, which Puleo uses to put the tank collapse in the context of a very complex time in U.S. history. The most striking aspect of this tale is the timeliness of the topics it touches on. Describing Americans being persecuted because of their ethnicity, a sagging economy boosted by war, and terrorism on U.S. soil that results in anti-immigration laws and deportations, Puleo could just as easily be writing about current events as about events in 1919. Overall, this is another piece in the jigsaw puzzle that is Boston's long and rich history. Photos.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
In January, 1919, a fifty-foot tank filled with molasses exploded, sending waves of viscous goo through waterfront Boston and killing twenty-one people. Were Italian anarchists to blame or was it negligence by the tank's owner, the United States Industrial Alcohol company? Such matters form the crux of Puleo's account, which is narrated with gusto (and sometimes too much gusto: one victim has molasses "clinging to his private parts, like an army of insects that just keep coming"). Molasses was a vital commodity at the time, used in rum manufacture (the tank was full to the brim to cash in on pre-Prohibition demand), and it had been important in the production of First World War munitions. Puleo overreaches in claiming the story of the flood as a "microcosm of America"—an almost obligatory conclusion in this sort of history—but his enthusiasm for a little-known catastrophe is infectious.
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
In "Dark Tide" Puleo takes a remarkable event and places it in several contexts - exactly what a history should do. Read morePublished 28 days ago by W. Handy
I found this fascinating.I found out things I didn't know before. Very good read.Published 29 days ago by Carole Wolenski
I had vaguely heard a few things about a molasses flood in Boston, as a New Englander there are many bits of history to hear. Read morePublished 1 month ago by R. Wark
An interesting story of a history that is little known. The author gives background history of the reasons for the Molasses Flood, ties it to the bigger world events of that time,... Read morePublished 1 month ago by GCD
This book is harrowing. The bursting of the molasses tank and the horror it left in its wake — not to mention the owners of said tank trying to lay the blame elsewhere — keeps you... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Very interesting I was so into the story, and interested in the outcome I could not put it down!Published 1 month ago by Charlene L. Ford