Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919
Publish Date: 2003-09-02
Author: Stephen Puleo
Shortly after noon on January 15, 1919, a fifty-foot-tall steel tank filled with 2.3 million gallons of molasses collapsed on Boston's waterfront, disgorging its contents as a fifteen-foot-high wave of molasses that briefly traveled at thirty-five miles per hour. When the tide receded, a section of the city's North End had been transformed into a war zone. The Great Boston Molasses Flood claimed the lives of twenty-one people and scores of animals, injured 150, and caused widespread destruction.
But the molasses flood was more than an isolated event. Its story overlays America's story during a tumultuous decade in our history. Tracing the era from the tank's construction in 1915 through the multiyear lawsuit that followed the tragedy, Dark Tide uses the drama of the flood to examine the sweeping changes brought about by World War I, Prohibition, the Anarchist movement, the Red Scare, immigration, and the role of big business in society.