Tag Archives: explosion

Dazzle Patterns by Alison Watt

December 6, 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion. Due to this, may books have been written to commemorate, revisit or try to understand how the Explosion shaped the lives of thousands. The books, past and present have appeared in both fiction and non-fiction genres.

Naomi MacKinnon of Consumed by Ink has undertaken a project to gather and read as many books as she can about the Halifax Explosion, and you can see her list here (including links to her reviews):

The following review by Naomi is of a new work of fiction by Alison Watt, and has been published by Freehand Books.

As some of you may know, I have been working on a little project the last couple of years; reading novels that have a connection to the Halifax Explosion.

One of the things I find compelling about reading these books is comparing them. After reading the first couple of books I wondered how different they could be from each other. Will reading these books become like reading the same material over and over?

For the most part, I have been delighted by how fresh each book has felt. And Dazzle Patterns is a shining example of this. Being book #8 on my list, it had its work cut out for it; what more could it say that hasn’t already been said; what kind of story can be told that hasn’t already been told? Writers never cease to amaze me. This is why I love to read.

Continue reading the review of Dazzle Patterns here.

This article has been Digiproved © 2017 James FisherSome Rights Reserved  

Bearing Witness: Journalists, Record Keepers and the 1917 Halifax Explosion by Michael Dupuis

December 6, 2017, signals the 100th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion, Canada’s worst Maritime tragedy to date. In mere seconds, a large portion of Halifax’s North End and waterfront were obliterated when the damaged munitions ship Mont Blanc exploded, killing 2,000 people and injuring thousands more. Many were left homeless as the force of the blast levelled the poorly-constructed houses, and fires consumed the wooden debris and trapped bodies. 

“The full extent of the calamity will not be known for many months – perhaps never.”

Joseph Sheldon, journalist, Dec. 9, 1917
A retired history teacher, writer, and author, Michael Dupuis concentrates his research on the role of journalists on the ground immediately after the explosion in Bearing Witness (2017, Fernwood Publishing). Mr. Dupuis has scrupulously gathered all published accounts of the explosion and its aftermath from Canadian as well as American sources, primarily the all-important newspapers of the day. As soon as railway and telegraph services were restored, journalists poured into the city from east coast cities as well as Boston Massachusetts and their reports streamed out on the wires. Mr. Dupuis incorporates introductory notes, images, and photographs throughout this studious work which reproduces all existing accounts of the event. While this necessarily leads to repetition of the main events involving the blast, each journalist offers distinct details such as eyewitness accounts, interviews and personal observances of the devastation. [related-post id=”969″]

Distinctive is the unique eye-witness account of Archibald MacMechan, who would become the Official Historian of the Halifax Disaster. When the Explosion occurred, Mr MacMechan was sitting in his Halifax home reading the newspaper. His house was damaged, but none of the occupants was injured. His reprinted account takes up approximately five pages in Bearing Witness, it being a chronicle that is thorough, compassionate and well-written, giving the reader of the day an idea (if that were possible) of the devastation and its impact on the city. He concludes:

“What happened on December sixth is the worst calamity that ever befell Halifax. The material damage is estimated at thirty millions. The physical suffering, the mental anguish from wounds, blinding, crippling, bereavement, cannot be reckoned by human calculation.”

This is a valuable book for historians (armchair or otherwise) to have on their shelf. A scholarly work that befits the quality of the titles produced by Nova Scotia’s Fernwood Publishing, Bearing Witness includes Appendices, Notes, References, and an Index. I have added it to the 2017 longlist for Non-Fiction, History for a “Very Best!” Book Award.

Bearing Witness: Journalists, Record Keepers and the 1917 Halifax Explosion by Michael Dupuis
Fernwood Publishing

This article has been Digiproved © 2017 James Fisher
Acknowledgements: Fernwood Publishing, Michael Dupuis
Some Rights Reserved