If you think that a fictional account of the 1919 Boston Police strike
wouldn't hold your interest, you'd be wrong. Dennis Lehane, best known for his
mysteries set in contemporary Boston, draws comparisons to E.L. Doctorow's
with his historical novel, The Given Day.
Both books combine the stories of fictional characters with actual people
who lived at the time, with anarchist Emma Goldman making an appearance in both.
The themes of family, loyalty, greed, class, race, secrets and power, and how
they affect people and their relationships, combine to make this an
Baseball fans will be drawn in immediately as the story starts off with
playing at that time for the Boston Red Sox. Ruth stumbles upon a baseball game
being played by young black men in Ohio, and asks to join the game. He is...
Beyond the Book
The Great Molasses Flood
Prohibition was about to become the law of the land in 1919, and the Purity
Distilling Company wanted to make a last batch before their product became
illegal. They had a huge tank situated in the North End of Boston, which was
densely populated with Italian immigrants.
The company poured warm molasses into the tank on top of a half full tank of
cold molasses. The chemical reaction formed by this caused gaseous vapors which
reacted with the weakened walls of the tank, and an explosion occurred.
Witnesses described a tidal wave of over two million gallons of molasses that
cascaded into the streets of the North End at an estimated 35 mph. An elevated
train bridge and a firehouse were destroyed. Twenty-one people...