A CENTURY SINCE ...
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