The Great Halifax Explosion: A World War I Story of Treachery, Tragedy, and Extraordinary Heroism

The explosion was so enormous, it killed 2,000 people and erupted into a mushroom cloud long before the Manhattan Project–and John U. Bacon writes about how and why it happened in The Great Halifax Explosion: A World War I Story of Treachery, Tragedy, and Extraordinary Heroism.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Bacon describes the horrible events of December 6, 1917 as well as what lessons the disaster holds for us today. He also explains how his interest in this story began through his love of hockey.

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There are 5 comments.

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  1. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Thanks for bringing this to us, John. And thanks for the laugh on “They always do,” when speaking of the terms and conditions.

    • #1
  2. colleenb Member
    colleenb
    @colleenb

    Sounds very interesting.  I had heard of the explosion but did not realize how devasting it was.  Its going on my reading list.  Thanks again for this podcast.

    • #2
  3. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Here’s a fascinating Smithsonian Magazine story on the same topic with many details about the unimaginable scope of the explosion:

    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/newly-discovered-diary-tells-harrowing-story-deadly-halifax-explosion-180964066/

    Thanks for a really interesting podcast. Adding the book to my reading list.

    • #3
  4. DJ EJ Member
    DJ EJ
    @DJEJ

    Charlotte (View Comment):
    The Great Halifax Explosion: A World War I Story of Treachery, Tragedy, and Extraordinary Heroism

    One of the commenters on the Smithsonian story added this detail (emphasis added):

    “I first learned about this explosion when my wife took me to Boston for my __th birthday and we saw the mayoral unveiling/lighting of the giant Christmas tree Halifax sends to Boston each year in appreciation for the efforts of the city’s firemen and others who went to Halifax and assisted in quelling the fires.”

    I found some more background on the Christmas tree here.

    Thanks for the Bookmonger interview, this book will make a great Christmas gift for my dad.

    • #4
  5. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    I had heard of the explosion but didn’t know any of the details. I will be adding the book to my shopping list.

    What surprised me the most was the bit about Canada and the U.S. not being friendly at that time, which isn’t that long ago. Now it’s hard not to see them as our friendly neighbor to the north. I read a lot of World War II history as a teenager, so knew that we were allies at that time. I also knew that they fought with the British in 1812 and saw a monument at Niagara Falls commemorating their defeat of the Americans during that war. I regret that I wasn’t curious enough to discover when that switch occurred.

    • #5