One of AudioFile magazine's Best Voices of the Century and Publishers Weekly's Audiobook Narrator of the Year for 2005, Grover Gardner is the recipient of dozens of awards, and listeners will easily understand why. Gardner's diction is reminiscent of classic American radio and provides an evocative feeling to this non-fiction exploration of the molasses flood that overwhelmed Boston on January 15, 1919. The rough edge of Gardner's voice adds texture to its velvety sound as he describes the disaster and its context, easily weaving together the various elements involved, from Prohibition to the anarchist movement to immigration. Listeners will find themselves absorbed by this little-known catastrophe.
Around noon on January 15, 1919, a group of firefighters were playing cards in Boston's North End when they heard a tremendous crash. It was like, "a roaring surf," one of them said later. Like, "a runaway two-horse team smashing through a fence," said another. A third firefighter jumped up from his chair to look out a window - "Oh my God!" he shouted to the other men, "Run!" A 50-foot-tall steel tank filled with 2.3 million gallons of molasses had just collapsed on Boston's waterfront, disgorging its contents as a 15-foot-high wave of molasses that at its outset traveled at 35 miles an hour. It demolished wooden homes, even the brick fire station. The number of dead wasn't known for days. It would be years before a landmark court battle determined who was responsible for the disaster.
This book would more accurately be described as a historical book about Boston rather than a book about the molasses disaster. The molasses disaster features very little in this book and is hardly mentioned at all for the first three and a half hours.
What you are actually buying is a book that describes a turbulent time in history which features war, civil unrest, racism, terrorism and the race to manufacture arms (for which the molasses was required).
The book is written in the style of a story but it didn’t work for me because there are so many characters introduced during the first three and a half hours, and I found it so tedious, that by the time the disaster happened, I could not remember them. It would have been better written as an examination of the evidence, in my opinion.
My advice is that if you are only interested in the molasses disaster, you should go straight to part 9 and accept that there is only about an hour of listening to be had.
The Good -
The story is fascinating. I had never heard of this tragedy before finding this book while reviewing books narrated by Grover Gardner. The book held my interest from beginning to end and I think it was just the right length. That said, I like books more then 8 hours long because I feel I'm getting more for the money. So, I admit I'm biased in regard to length most of the time.
The Bad -
Nothing at all.
The Narration -
As I alluded to above Gardner is in my top five favorites so.....
The Overall -
If you like non-fiction, history and technical books like I do I would be shocked if you didn't find this book well worth the time. It will remain in my library for a future re-listen.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
calling it historical fiction
Has Dark Tide turned you off from other books in this genre?
What about Grover Gardner’s performance did you like?
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Dark Tide?
all scenes where the author purports to know what folks thought, especially the "thoughts" as people were dying.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Turning back the pages of time, when men were out to make a buck regardless of the deaths that were certain to occur. Would highly recommend.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Who would have thought that a story about molasses from 1919 would be relative to the geopolitical landscape of 2016? This story is intriguing and touches on several variables that are currently playing out in these United States. This book is a great story and a good telling of it.
The author has blended the facts of the case with the human side of the story, not always the case in stories like this. Neither faction is over done nor neglected.
I am a great fan of Boston and visit at least once a year but never knew about this incident. Thank you for a great story.
Wonderful choice of stories to write. Wonderful balance of story and history. Well worth listening to.
Well researched and absorbing story-a real page- turner-mr pullout tells the tragic story in a kind compassionate manner.
This is a compelling little known event in American history. Who knew that molasses had killed people and destroyed property? The author does a great job but the listener/reader has to wade through over 4 hours of minutiae before the account of the flood begins. That's about 1/2 of the whole book! I listened as far as the part of Chapter 3, then skipped several hours and picked up at Chapter 9 - the early morning hours before the molasses tank exploded. After that, the story flowed well with a good description of the disaster and it's aftermath. The length made it impossible for me to give the BOOK a 5-star rating - which I would have if I hadn't paid for a 9+ hour work with only 4 hours worth of listening.
What's worse is that Stephen Puleo writes an epilogue and then an epilogue to the epilogue! The latter consists of letters from the ancestors of the victims who knew little or nothing about the tragedy until reading this book. They provide a personal insight into their relatives. Then Puleo takes time to analyze this added information. However, with the in depth research done by Puleo, these observations would be better served in a revised edition to this book, rounding out the true characters in this tragedy.
Once again, a book better served ABRIDGED!
5 of 10 people found this review helpful