Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Blizzard of Glass: The Halifax Explosion of 1917 by Sally M. Walker

Blizzard of Glass: The Halifax Explosion of 1917World War I is happening in Europe, but its effects are still felt in North America. A large ship, the Mont-Blanc, is modified so sparks won't set off the tons and tons of explosives stored inside. The ship travels to Nova Scotia, hoping to find an escort across the Atlantic Ocean. The entrance to the harbor is narrow, so special pilots are needed to lead ships in and out. On December 6, 1917, terrible mistakes are made. Another ship collides with the Mont-Blanc and starts a fire. The crew is able to escape in time, but the fire detonates the second largest man-made explosion of all time. The devastation didn't stop there.

This book is non-fiction. It contains many facts and truthful accounts of the catastrophe, but the author includes information about real people to humanize the topic. Some of these people survive the explosion, but others do not. It always amazes me to read about disasters that are caused by real people making stupid decisions. Safety precautions were in place, but two other ships not following the rules started the fateful chain of events.

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