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ON DEC. 6, 1917 a French freighter packed with ex­plo­sives col­lided with a Nor­we­gian ship in Hal­i­fax Harbour, ig­nit­ing a man­made blast that wasn’t equalled in size un­til the ad­vent of the atomic bomb, de­stroy­ing a swath of the city, killing 2,000 and in­jur­ing thou­sands more – in­clud­ing some thrown blocks from where they’d stood sec­onds ear­lier. Two new books mark the cen­ten­nial of the tragedy, The Great Hal­i­fax Ex­plo­sion: A World War I Story of

Treach­ery, Tragedy, and Ex­tra­or­di­nary Hero­ism by John U. Ba­con, of­fer­ing a per­spec­tive of in­ter­na­tional scope and the blast’s im­pli­ca­tions for the fu­ture of war­fare, and The Hal­i­fax Ex­plo­sion: Canada’s Worst

Dis­as­ter by Ken Cuth­bert­son, who at­tempts to get to the bot­tom of the cause of the col­li­sion while re­count­ing the heart­break­ing and heroic af­ter­math. And award­win­ning Nova Sco­tia jour­nal­ist John Demont takes a wider look at the prov­ince’s his­tory and peo­ple through his own life and ex­pe­ri­ences in The Long Way Home: A Per­sonal His­tory of Nova Sco­tia. —MC

All that re­mains of a Hal­i­fax cathe­dral fol­low­ing the Dec. 6, 1917, ex­plo­sion, which dec­i­mated a large por­tion of the north end of the city

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