Catastrophe in Halifax - 100th Anniversary of the The World's Greatest Maritime Disaster
Today, December 6th, 2017 is the 100th anniversary of the catastrophic explosion in Halifax of the French munitions ship Mont Blanc. Thousands died in an instant and a harsh winter killed thousands more. The people of Boston rallied to their aid and to this day, Halifax sends Boston its Christmas tree. Laura M. MacDonald's, "Curse of the Narrows", paints a vivid picture of the utter devastation and frantic efforts to save survivors from raging fires and a bitterly cold winter.
Top Recommendation for December
Curse of the Narrows, by Laura MacDonald (2006 - 372pp)
Highly compelling tale of the Halifax disaster, the largest man made explosion before the atomic bomb, caused by an exploding ammunition ship.
The Great Influenza - The Deadliest Pandemic in World History
The Great Influenza of 1918 spread rapidly around the world in 1918 by troops in WW I, and killed 30 to 50 million making it the worlds greatest natural disaster. John Barry's superb "The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in World History" paints a vivid picture of its horrific impact and frantic efforts of governments around the world to develop necessary vaccines and medical responses.
Top Recommendation for November
The Great Influenza, by John Barry (2005- 546 pp)
The Great Influenza of 1918 killed 30-50 million (3% of the world's population), mostly young adults, making it the deadliest natural disaster in human history.
Rising Tide - The Great Mississippi Floods of 1927
2017's widespread flooding in Texas has happened in the U.S. before...only far worse, most notably during the great Mississippi floods of 1927. John Barry's superb "Rising Tide" paints a vivid picture of the economic, political, social and engineering issues of the 1920's that were in play and led to the displacement of over 1 million, greatly exacerbating the Depression for the nation as a whole and effecting flood control for a century to come.
Top Recommendation for September
Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, by John Barry (1998 - 528 pp)
Fascinating, nearly forgotten account of how the great rains and flood of 1927 left 1 million homeless and displaced southern Delta populations North.
The Assault that Helped Ignite the Civil War
On May 22, 1856 ardent pro-slavery Congressman Preston Brooks of SC savagely attacked and critically injured anti-slavery Senator Charles Sumner on the floor of the U.S. Senate with a gold tipped walking stick. Stephen Puleo's "The Caning: The Assault that Drove America to Civil War", paints a vivid picture of the vitriolic climate of the times and chronicles the major events of the decade leading to the outbreak of the Civil War.
Top Recommendation for May
The Caning: The Assault that Drove America to Civil War, by Stephen Puleo
(2012, Oct - 374pp)
Superb, easy-to-read, highly informative narrative that explains and links the key events in the years l
The Climactic Carrier Battle of WWII in the Pacific
On June 20, 1944, the U.S. Navy took on the the Japanese in the final carrier battle of WW II. The Battle of the Philippine Sea was a disaster for the Japanese who lost 3 aircraft carriers and 637 aircraft. Barrett Tillman's "The Clash of the Carriers: The True Story of the Marianas Turkey Shoot", vividly portrays this stunning victory of the newly mighty U.S. fleet.
Top Recommendation for June
Clash of the Carriers, by Barrett Tillman (2006 - 368pp)
Stirring account of the Battle of the Philippine Sea, a knock-out blow for Japan's navy air which lost 3 carriers, 600 planes and hundreds of pilots.