Curse of the Narrows

curse of the narrowsIt feels like a really long time since I finished a book. I meant to get a lot more reading done on my days off but I ended up being out of the house actually doing stuff quite a bit.

I originally started Laura M MacDonald's The Curse of the Narrows back in February. I picked at it until I had to return it to the library and then I put it back on my request list and got it a week or so later. It was nominated for the Charles Taylor prize which is how it got on my reading list.

The book is really a very good history of the Halifax explosion. It outlines how it happened. It follows individuals through the following days. It looks at the relief workers that came from Boston. It looks at the doctors, the military, the citizens, the politicians.

In the chapters that occur after the explosion I quickly learned to eat while reading this book with caution. There are some very graphic descriptions of injuries. I really don't recommend eating while reading any of the hospital scenes, especially those that deal with the eye surgeon.

Had this explosion *not* happened in a city that was mobilized for the war I don't dare to think of what the causality rate would have been. Of course, the Imo and the Mont Blanc would have had very different cargo in peace time. But the fact that city and the country was mobilized saved many lives. I honestly don't know how as many people survived as they did - between the explosion, the wreckage, the fires, the blizzard...yes, there was also a blizzard.

Have any of you heard of the Halifax explosion before??? I have but that may have a lot to do with the fact that I grew up in the Maritimes. It was the largest man-made explosion until the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in WWII though so maybe... People were literally blown right out of their clothes.

It's a good book and recommend it. It's also a great reference book with great notes and bibliography.