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Download The Great Halifax Explosion: A World War I Story of Treachery, Tragedy, and Extraordinary Heroism Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Great Halifax Explosion: A World War I Story of Treachery, Tragedy, and Extraordinary Heroism Audiobook, by John U. Bacon Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John U. Bacon Narrator: Johnny Heller Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2017 ISBN: 9780062695758
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From New York Times bestselling author John U. Bacon, a gripping narrative history of the largest manmade detonation prior to Hiroshima: in 1917 a ship laden with the most explosives ever packed on a vessel sailed out of Brooklyn’s harbor for the battlegrounds of World War I; when it stopped in Halifax, Nova Scotia, an extraordinary disaster awaited …

On Monday, December 3, 1917, the French freighter SS Mont-Blanc set sail from Brooklyn carrying the largest cache of explosives ever loaded onto a ship, including 2,300 tons of picric acid, an unstable, poisonous chemical more powerful than TNT. The US had just recently entered World War I, and the ordnance was bound for the battlefields of France, to help the Allies break the grueling stalemate that had protracted the fighting for nearly four demoralizing years. The explosives were so dangerous that Captain Aimé Le Medec took unprecedented safety measures, including banning the crew from smoking, lighting matches, or even touching a drop of liquor.

Sailing north, the Mont-Blanc faced deadly danger, enduring a terrifying snowstorm off the coast of Maine and evading stealthy enemy U-boats hunting the waters of the Atlantic. But it was in Nova Scotia that an extraordinary disaster awaited. As the Mont-Blanc waited to dock in Halifax, it was struck by a Norwegian relief ship, the Imo, charging out of port. A small fire on the freighter’s deck caused by the impact ignited the explosives below, resulting in a horrific blast that, in one fifteenth of a second, leveled 325 acres of Halifax—killing more than one thousand people and wounding nine thousand more.

In this definitive account, Bacon combines research and eyewitness accounts to recreate the tragedy and its aftermath, including the international effort to rebuild the devastated port city. As he brings to light one of the most dramatic incidents of the twentieth century, Bacon explores the long shadow this first “weapon of mass destruction” would cast on the future of nuclear warfare— crucial insights and understanding relevant to us today.

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Quotes & Awards

  • The Great Halifax Explosion is absorbing from first page to last. With deep research and evocative writing, John U. Bacon has brought back to life this devastating wartime event and illuminated its lasting meaning.”

    David Maraniss, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and author

  • “In this suspenseful tale of heartbreak and heroism, John U. Bacon deftly re-creates a world at war and sheds new light on one of the greatest tragedies of the twentieth century. He is clearly the perfect writer for the job, able to keep you awake reading late into the night.”

    Beth Macy, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Fans of Ken Burns, The Boys in the Boat, and John Hersey’s Hiroshima will find in John U. Bacon’s meticulous reporting a story that literally rocked the world. A gripping, ticktock narrative, this a story with an enormous heart; this is an author with astounding range as a journalist and page-turning storyteller.”

    Doug Stanton, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Bacon documents the terrifying incident in vivid detail…An absorbing history of disaster and survival.”

    Kirkus Reviews

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About the Author

John U. Bacon is the New York Times bestselling author of, among other titles, Three and Out, Fourth and Long, and Endzone.

About the Narrator

Johnny Heller, a two-time winner of the prestigious Audie Award, was named a top voice of 2008 and 2009 and selected as one of the Top 50 Narrators of the Twentieth Century by AudioFile magazine. His adult and children’s book narrations have earned him thirty-five AudioFile Earphones Awards.