Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Flood Guide

In the cold of winter in 1919, the North End of Boston experienced a deadly flood of molasses. I first heard about it when we moved to the area a decade ago, and I thought it was some kind of joke, then at best an oddity. It was, in fact, a horrific event that had much in common with such disasters as the Bhopal gas leak and the Gulf of Mexico BP/Halliburton spill.

Historian Stephen Puleo's Dark Tide is a compelling account that includes several topics that are all-too relevant today, including reckless pursuit of corporate profits, government regulators who are too close to the industries they regulate, and cruel bias against immigrant workers.

Because the book is also instructive about many aspects of the urban geography of Boston, I am adopting it for my teacher-preparation course in the spring 2011 semester, as part of Bridgewater's One Book One Community program. To support community members, faculty, and students who are interested in learning more about the Molasses Flood and related topics, librarian Pamela Hayes-Bohanan has created the Great Molasses Flood Maxguide.

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