Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 by Stephen Puleo
Did you ever hear of the “great molasses flood” in Boston? I grew up hearing about this event – probably because it took place in and around Boston’s North End, and we had ties to and visited the North End frequently. But even I took the reality of this event with a grain of salt.
But it actually happened. Around noon on January 15th, 1919, a fifty foot tall tank FILLED with over 2 million gallons of thick, black molasses collapsed – creating a massive tidal wave (fifteen feet high, some say) that traveled at a speed of over 35 miles per hour and transformed Boston’s North End into a disaster area. Twenty one people were killed, many animals were destroyed, and the injury and destruction left in its wake were devastating.
Dark Tide by Steven Puleo presents us with a fascinating story – not only of the tragic flood, but of the social and cultural drama that led up to the tragedy – from the tank’s construction (in 1915) all the way through the inevitable lawsuit that followed. Mr. Puleo is an award-winning newspaper reporter and his style is highly readable. If you have never heard about the Great Molasses Flood – and would appreciate a detailed look at Boston’s history- this is the book for you.