This week on Fieldstone Common our featured guest is Stephen Puleo, author of the book Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919.
Bio – Stephen Puleo
Stephen Puleo is an author, historian, university teacher, public speaker, and communications professional. His books include
- The Caning: The Assault That Drove America to Civil War
- A City So Grand: The Rise of an American Metropolis, Boston 1850-1900
- The Boston Italians: A Story of Pride, Perseverance and Paesani, from the Years of the Great Immigration to the Present Day
- Due to Enemy Action: The True World War II Story of the USS Eagle 56
- Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919
In 2008, Steve was the recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award, presented by the Appian Club, an Italian-American organization dedicated to preserving and promoting Italian culture in Massachusetts. In 2007, he received the prestigious i migliori award, presented by the Pirandello Lyceum to Italian-Americans who have excelled in their fields of endeavor and made important contributions to society.
A former award-winning newspaper reporter and contributor of feature stories and book reviews to American History magazine and the Boston Globe, Puleo holds a master’s degree in history, for which he received the Dean’s Award for Academic Achievement, and was the Graduate Convocation keynote speaker. He teaches at Suffolk University in Boston.
Around noon on January 15, 1919, a group of firefighters was playing cards in Boston’s North End when they heard a tremendous crash. It was like roaring surf, one of them said later. Like a runaway two-horse team smashing through a fence, said another. A third firefighter jumped up from his chair to look out a window-“Oh my God!” he shouted to the other men, “Run!”
A 50-foot-tall steel tank filled with 2.3 million gallons of molasses had just collapsed on Boston’s waterfront, disgorging its contents as a 15-foot-high wave of molasses that at its outset traveled at 35 miles an hour. It demolished wooden homes, even the brick fire station. The number of dead wasn’t known for days. It would be years before a landmark court battle determined who was responsible for the disaster.
Publisher: Beacon Press (2003)
Trade Paperback; 273 pages with bibliographic essay, an index and some BxW photos.
Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 is available for purchase from Amazon.com and other booksellers.
Dark Tide is so much more than just a book about a very unusual molasses flood. The book is set against the backdrop of WWI, the coming of prohibition and prejudice against immigrants. Steve and I talk about the building of the tank and how the political situation allowed it to be built in one of the most densely populated places in the United States. Steve reads a passage from one of the poignant moments at the bedside of a victim after the flood. We talk about the heros and the villains of the story and how the current events impacted their decisions. And lets not forget the anarchists! Sometimes we think that are current events are unique to us but this book proves that history repeats itself and we are none the wiser.
One copy of Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 was given out to the Fieldstone Common audience courtesy of Beacon Press.
The winner is:
- Victor Jones of North Carolina
Congratulations to our winner and thanks to Beacon Press for their generosity in donating the book!
Make sure you qualify to win the giveaway next week by signing up for the Bonus List! Once you sign up your are in the running each week!
The Direct Link to this post is www.fieldstonecommon.com/dark-tide-stephen-puleo
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