06 August 2007

Books Read Since June 26

(not counting the library books...)

• Dark Tide, Stephen Puleo
In January of 1919, a huge tank of molasses in the North End of Boston burst. Although when you mention "the great molasses disaster" to people, the first reaction is amusement because it sounds so absurd, the accident killed dozens who were killed by drowning, concussion, and the force of the flow of thousands of gallons of viscous fluid. Puleo's narrative follows the lives of the families who lived and worked in the area and the repercussions of the event—and the results of the determination: was the company who owned the tank to blame? Did they ignore obvious leaks and even cover them up?

• Eric Sloane's America (comprised of American Barns & Covered Bridges, Our Vanishing Landscape, and American Yesterday)
In the 1950s Sloane did numerous books about the vanishing heritage of America: homemade tools, handmade homes and barns and bridges, and a way of life. Lovingly illustrated, wonderfully informative, and always wistful.

• Halsey's Typhoon, Bob Drury and Tom Clavin
James bought this book about a typhoon that struck Admiral Halsey's Task Force 38 in the Pacific during December of 1944. Three destroyers sank, almost 800 men were killed, and the rest of the ships survived unbelievable damage. The writing was so vivid that I was seasick halfway through the book. An amazing story of heroic efforts to stay afloat, of rescue, and of survival. The chapters about the Tabberer and her captain's efforts to keep her afloat are almost a book of their own. (One of the survivors of the storm? A young officer by the name of Gerald Ford.)

• Design for Victory: World War II on the American Home Front, William L. Bird Jr and Harry R. Rubenstein
This is the last of the books I bought in Washington, DC, last November, an overview of the posters and advertisements that were part of American life through the war years. Heavily illustrated in color.

• Another Path, Gladys Taber
Fans of Taber's Stillmeadow books will remember Taber's friend Jill who shared the farmhouse with Taber, her daughter, and Jill's children. After Jill passed away in the early 1960s, Taber wrote this short book about her efforts to come to terms with her grief. I enjoyed it, but it may be for Stillmeadow fans only.

• Re-Read: The Way It Was—1876, Suzanne Hilton
I found this book years ago, probably about 1977, for a dollar in a drugstore. It was written for young adults and told the story of life in the United States during the year of the Centennial. Hilton draws her information from diaries and news reports of the time; the book is lively and engrossing while talking about schooling, sickness, farm life and city life, and especially the excitement of the year: the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.

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