Books: H Was for Halifax Then

THE TOWN THAT DIED (192 pp.)—Michael J. Bird—Putnam ($3.95).

A mushroom-shaped cloud with a massive fireball rose 12,000 ft. in the air. In the city beneath, buildings of all sizes and materials were flattened to a charred plain. It was impossible to tell where streets had been. People vanished without a trace. Others became black fleshless bones protruding from ruins. This happened not in 1945 but in 1917—in Halifax, N.S. It was the largest man-made explosion before Hiroshima.

The French freighter Mont Blanc, en route from New York to Bordeaux, entered the Halifax roadstead on the morning of Dec. 6. The Mont...

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