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Before Hiroshima, there was Halifax. The cataclysmic eruption of over six million tons of TNT and other explosives from a collision in Halifax harbor in 1917 killed thousands and obliterated much of the city in the most horrific manmade disaster before the atomic bomb. Yet the story is not only a brutal side effect of war, but a tale of people who immediately, and instinctively, banded together to resurrect what remained of their city, their families, and themselves. — Mike Hare
Although the people in Halifax, Nova Scotia who had gathered along the harbor to watch the fire didn't know it, the burning French cargo ship Mont Blanc was carrying 6 million pounds of TNT and volatile picric acid. When the ship exploded about fifteen minutes later, the blast turned the surrounding area into a hellish, body strewn wasteland, killing 2,000 people. This is the harrowing story of one of the worst man-made disasters in history and the courageous determination of people from both Canada and Boston to build a new city from the rubble. — Alden Graves
NATIONAL BESTSELLER - The riveting, tick-tock account of the largest manmade explosion in history prior to the atomic bomb, and the equally astonishing tales of survival and heroism that emerged from the ashes, from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author John U. Bacon
After steaming out of New York City on December 1, 1917, laden with a staggering three thousand tons of TNT and other explosives, the munitions ship Mont-Blanc fought its way up the Atlantic coast, through waters prowled by enemy U-boats. As it approached the lively port city of Halifax, Mont-Blanc's deadly cargo erupted with the force of 2.9 kilotons of TNT--the most powerful explosion ever visited on a human population, save for HIroshima and Nagasaki. Mont-Blanc was vaporized in one fifteenth of a second; a shockwave leveled the surrounding city. Next came a thirty-five-foot tsunami. Most astounding of all, however, were the incredible tales of survival and heroism that soon emerged from the rubble.
This is the unforgettable story told in John U. Bacon's The Great Halifax Explosion a ticktock account of fateful decisions that led to doom, the human faces of the blast's 11,000 casualties, and the equally moving individual stories of those who lived and selflessly threw themselves into urgent rescue work that saved thousands.
The shocking scale of the disaster stunned the world, dominating global headlines even amid the calamity of the First World War. Hours after the blast, Boston sent trains and ships filled with doctors, medicine, and money. The explosion would revolutionize pediatric medicine; transform U.S.-Canadian relations; and provide physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, who studied the Halifax explosion closely when developing the atomic bomb, with history's only real-world case study demonstrating the lethal power of a weapon of mass destruction.
Mesmerizing and inspiring, Bacon's deeply-researched narrative brings to life the tragedy, brvery, and surprising afterlife of one of the most dramatic events of modern times.