A remarkable tale about a little known, regrettable incident in American (and, particularly, Boston) history. On January 15, 1919, a 90 foot tall tank of molasses, destined for distillation into industrial alcohol for munitions manufacture, flew apart, sending a 25 foot high wave of the dark sticky substance racing through the crowded North End at speeds up to 35 mph. (So much for 'slow as molasses!') The first third of the book supplies background of the molasses trade, Boston at the turn of the century and introduces us to those who played a significant role in the tragedy. Most harrowing is the central portion, detailing the enormous failure of the tank and the unthinkable destruction it wrought, with attendant suffering and near misses. The last third is a chilling courtroom drama, pitting the mostly immigrant plaintiffs against a large corporation, USIA. This story has long played at the edges of Bostonian folklore, but has never received "spotlight" treatment. Stephen Puleo rectifies this oversight with an absolutely gripping volume. The story is amazing in its own right. Puleo goes further, placing it in the context of the political and economic exigencies faced by WWI America. While the author doesn't do so, I found echos resonating to our modern era. Anti-immigrant feeling, persecution for political expression, worker safety concerns, questions over the ability of Big Business to police itself (and it's culpability when it fails to do so), lack of government regulation and the effects of military/industrial spending are all issues with which we continue to struggle. This book continues to have relevance beyond the events of a near century ago.Puleo draws largely upon primary sources, including the 25,000 page transcript of the legal proceedings. One wishes for careful footnoting or end notes, particularly where Puleo ascribes inner thoughts and feelings to someone. Puleo notes that there is little prior written work work on this topic. All the more important in the interests of history and future researchers, I would think, to carefully note one's sources. This is admittedly nit-picking. As a Bostonian, I found this book particularly intriguing. However, I think that it would have broad appeal.