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December 6, 1917, started like any other day in Halifax. But everything stopped shortly before nine o'clock that morning, when two ships collided in Halifax Harbour. One of the ships was loaded with munitions for the troops fighting in Europe; the other was preparing to collect medical supplies for the war's victims.

The resulting disaster was the largest man-made explosion until the detonation of the atomic bomb in 1945. The blast flattened large areas of Halifax and the town across the harbor, Dartmouth. It killed nearly two thousand people. As if that wasn't devastating enough, a blizzard hit the next day, dumping more than a foot of snow on the area and
slowing much-needed relief efforts.

This harrowing story of tragedy and recovery reveals the extraordinary strength and determination of a community in one of its darkest hours.
Trade Reviews
School Library Journal Review
Gr 4-7-This excellent recounting of the horrific and unprecedented explosion on December 8, 1917 in Halifax harbor is an historical tragedy that will be unfamiliar to most listeners. Two ships-one packed with munitions for the troops fighting in Europe during World War I, and the other on a mission to collect medical supplies-crashed into each other in the narrow Canadian waterway, setting off an explosion that decimated the area for miles around and killed nearly 2,000 people. Sally M. Walker makes this account (Holt, 2011) even more affecting by introducing listeners to a number of children and adults who were going about their normal day on the morning of the explosion. She follows each of them through the nightmarish explosion, devastating shock wave, and subsequent fires. And to make matter worse, on the day after the disaster, there was a blizzard that dropped nearly a foot of snow. Paul Michael paces his narration well, varying his intonations and voicing the appropriate accents. The horror of the true story is made even more real by his matter-of-fact recitation. Make sure to have the book available so listeners can see photos of the harbor, the ships, and other features that the audio version alone can't sufficiently convey.-B. Allison Gray, Goleta Public Library, Santa Barbara, CA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
Disasters make for gripping reading, and this account of the huge explosion of a munitions ship and its devastating effects in Halifax harbor, Canada, in 1917 tells the dramatic history with clear, detailed facts that combine the science and technology of why and how the accident happened with powerful personal accounts of what it meant for families who were there. The story of the largest man-made explosion until Hiroshima begins with two ships floating quietly in the night as families nearby prepare for their day: The Imo is loading food and coal; the Mont Blanc, like a monstrous bomb, carries 2,925 tons of explosive material. When the two ships collide, people rush to see the dramatic fire in the harbor, and many die in the fiery explosion after huge benzine-filled drums and the main cargo blow up, creating a tsunami that sweeps people away. With archival photos on almost every page, the narrative will connect readers with recent tsunami and earthquake disasters and the drive for recovery and reconstruction. Source notes and a selected bibliography conclude this title by an award-winning science writer.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2010 Booklist
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