ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Dark Tide Book Review

Updated on November 11, 2017
Source

Introduction

Author: Stephen Puleo

Published: 2003

Publisher: Beacon Pess

Pages 273 (paperback)

On 15th January 1919, at around noon, one of the greatest disasters to strike Boston, USA occurred. In the north end of Boston stood a tank 50 ft tall and 90 ft wide. Contained in this tank was molasses, which was full to the brim. In fact, it contained 2.3 million gallons of it. But what happened was so shocking and tragic that it led to one of the longest court cases ever. On this day, the tank exploded causing the molasses to spill over into the streets of Boston. The result of this was that 21 people died and 150 were injured. It left Boston looking like a war zone as buildings were demolished and a massive clean up operation ensued. The result of this left a lot of questions to be answered, as you shall find out in this book.

Stephen Puleo is a former newspaper reporter and also a contributor to the American History magazine.

Source
Part 1: A Monster in Our Midst
Part 2: Waves of Terror
Part 3: David Vs Goliath
Deadline on the Waterfront
Before...
"One of the Worst Catastrophes"
Neighborhood Weeping
Engulfed!
Factor of Safety
Along the Gulf Stream
"I Am Prepared to Meet my God"
"A Sordid Story"
War and Anarchy
Darkening Skies
 
Heavy Load
 
 
Source

About the book

Dark Tide is split into 3 parts. The first part really sets the scene and tells about the construction of the molasses tank. Not only that, but the author describes in detail what America and, more importantly, what Boston was like in 1919. With WW! not long over, he describes in great detail the unrest that was bestowing America at the time. There were a lot of Italian immigrants living in Boston at the time. And also with a lot of anarchists and bombings going off around Boston at the time, he describes the run up to the disaster so the reader gets an idea of what was going on.

The prologue to the book is particularly interesting to read as it gives an account of Isaac Gonzales who, by all accounts, was worried sick about the tank. So much so, he would get up in the middle of the night just to go check on it. With the tank holding 2.3 million gallons of the thick molasses, he witnessed it slowly seeping and leaking from the seams of the tank. He was adamant it would, one day, collapse. When he approached his boss, Mr White and Mr White's boss, Arthur Jell, they just told him he was over-reacting. Perhaps they should have listened to him in the first place.

The book doesn't really tell you about the disaster until part 2. I found part one interesting and helpful. It lays the foundation of what America was like at the time and what was going on in Boston and in USA itself. Not only that though, Stephen goes into great detail about the company that ran the molasses tank and the construction of it. As I say, part 2 is about how the tank collapsed and the aftermath. Stephen Puleo goes into great detail about how the tank collapsed and how it affected the Bostonians. The tank was erected in quite a built up area of Boston and houses were, quite literally, flattened like matchsticks. As the molasses flowed through the streets of Boston it drowned, trapped and killed people. Some people died a few days, and even a few months after the disaster. And after the initial flood, the clean up began. As you read the book, Stephen hones in on certain people and families and how their lives completely changed forever due to this.

Part 3, aptly named David Vs Goliath, is based around the lengthy court case that ensued. This was by far one of the most bizarre cases to hit America and this comes through in the court hearing. The book goes into great detail about the many witnesses they interviewed. This includes employees of the company, people who lost family members, and professionals in the steel industry. This part of the book was interesting to read, and as a reader, I got a vivid insight into what went on. There are also small transcripts of the conversations that went on in court.

Source

My thoughts

I found this book really interesting to read. It was a part of history I never knew about. There is a small section of the book with photographs in, so you get an idea of the scale of the tank and the destruction it caused on people in Boston. I like how it's split into 3 parts. This made the whole story easy to read. And I like how Part 1 explores the social history of America and what was happening in Boston at the time. This leads on nicely to the flood itself and the subsequent court trial. And at the end of the book you get a small summary of what became of some of the people named in the book, and also a list of the 21 people that died in this terrible disaster. This is certainly an interesting book for anyone interested in history and, in particular, American history. I've added a video about the flood, which is not anyway related to the book, but I found it interesting to watch nonetheless.

A video about the Molasses Flood.

Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 book.

© 2017 Louise Powles

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      7 months ago from Shelton

      I do read books when someone gives it a thumbs up... I will check this book out because you feel good about it... once again thank you

    • Coffeequeeen profile imageAUTHOR

      Louise Powles 

      8 months ago from Norfolk, England

      A movie would be interesting, wouldn't it? It would be good if they did make a film of this.

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 

      8 months ago

      I have heard of it recently since the anniversary of the tragedy took place. Nothing big in the news. Your story and your video tells the story quite vividly. I have a different feeling towards the disaster. I grew up fifteen miles outside of Boston. Almost all my life I never heard anyone once mention the horrible accident. In the video there is a small plaque in place today which I think it is so sad that we don't remind people about how history was changed forever. I couldn't imagine being stuck in molasses. I don't remember ever buying or eating molasses. The book sounds interesting. I wonder if they could make this into a movie ? Thank you for sharing and caring.

    • Rhyme Vine Poetry profile image

      Yancosky 

      10 months ago from Uninhabited Regions

      Such a very sad tragedy. Your book review is excellent, and very clear. Thank you for sharing!

      Tamara

      xxx

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      11 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      What a bizarre and tragic incident. Thanks for the book review. I'd like to read about this event.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      11 months ago from USA

      I’ve heard of this disaster referenced but would love to read this book to learn more. Many of the early industrial disasters laid the groundwork for our occupational safety and health laws now. We take such modern protections for granted (or worse, consider them a nuisance). However, people like the victims of this disaster died or were maimed and it was sadly preventable.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      11 months ago from Texas

      Louise, I will look for the book, I had not heard about this and find it fascinating. Yes I love history.

      Thank you for bringing it to our attention.

      Blessings my friend.

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 

      11 months ago from Houston, TX USA

      So, what were the social conditions in Boston at the time?

      What caused the tank to collapse?

      What was the outcome of the court case?

    • Coffeequeeen profile imageAUTHOR

      Louise Powles 

      11 months ago from Norfolk, England

      I know what you mean though. When I first heard about it, it made me laugh too! You wouldn't think anything like this could happen, do you? Thankyou for reading, I'm glad you found it interesting.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      11 months ago from Ohio

      This book does sound very interesting. It is nice that he tells what happened to some of the people at the end. I have never heard of this disaster. At first I laughed to read the title, but I felt bad for that laugh reading this. It sounds like a book I would enjoy greatly.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)