I haven't written a book report in a long time, but I just got back from hanging out with my grandson, Sebastian, in California. And that means a couple of long plane flights. I went looking for a book to read on the way back while I was there and found,  The Great Halifax Explosion: A World War I Story of Treachery, Tragedy, and Extraordinary Heroism. The book is by John U. Bacon. who lives in Ann Arbor, went to Michigan and is primarily a sportswriter. The book came out a couple of years ago. I guess I just missed it, somehow.

The Great Halifax Explosion is a book about an event I'd heard of, but didn't know much about. It's the story of the Mont-Blanc, a ship loaded with 6 million pounds of explosives in 1917, bound for World War I battlefields in Europe, sailed into Halifax, Nova Scotia's harbor, collided with another ship and blew up. Until the atomic-bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, this was the biggest man made explosion of all time. The explosion obliterated 2.5 square miles of Halifax, killed 2,000 people and wounded 9,000 more.

But the book is more than just the facts of what happened. It's more about the people who lived there and the heroes that came out of that day and the days that followed. One of the great stories is about Joseph Barss, a former hockey player who was there that day because he'd been wounded in WWI. He went sleepless for the next several days as he helped with the wounded and saw enough to convince him to go to medical school - at the University of Michigan. He became a doctor AND started (and was the first coach of) the University of Michigan's varsity hockey team.

I'm a fan of good history books and this is one of the better ones I've picked up in a long time. Next time one of you Wolverines run into John, tell him I'm a big fan.

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