WTBE Historical Novel Reading Group

Book Selections, 2019-2020

The group  picks up at its normally scheduled time, 12:30 on May 11 with The Halifax Explosion.

December 1917: the freighter Mont-Blanc steamed out of New York Harbor packed with a staggering load of explosives intended to break the ghastly stalemate on the Western Front. The floating powder keg bobbed up the Eastern seaboard for four days, avoiding rocky shores and German U-boats. But after reaching the safety of Halifax Harbour, a collision sparked a fire on deck, the panicked crew fled, and the burning ghost ship drifted toward the city. At 9:04 a.m. a cataclysm unlike anything the world had ever seen erupted.

This is the unforgettable story told in John U. Bacon’s The Great Halifax Explosion: a ticktock account of the hours preceding the disaster, the fateful decisions that led to doom, the human faces of the blast’s 11,000 casualties, and the aftermath. The blast dominated global headlines, transformed Canada and the United States from adversaries to allies, and, years later, gave J. Robert Oppenheimer his best case study in the power of a weapon of mass destruction. Mesmerizing and inspiring, Bacon’s deeply researched narrative brings to life the tragedy, bravery, and surprising afterlife of one of the most dramatic events of modern times.

Upcoming reads:

Monday, June 13-           Alice Hoffman, The Dovekeepers. 

Future possible selections: If you have any of these and can recommend them, please let us know.
Kate Mosse, Sepulchre, 2007. (author of Labyrinth).
B.A. Shapiro, The Muralist,2015. She also wrote, The Art Forger.


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