One Book One Belmont 2011

The Belmont Public Library is pleased to announce that the book Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 by Stephen Puleo has been selected for the 2011 One Book One Belmont (OBOB). A wide range of community groups are working with the library to sponsor events related to the book throughout the month of March. The author is scheduled to speak in Belmont the evening of March 24, 2011.

The book tells the story of the collapse of a giant molasses tank that sent more than 2 million gallons of molasses surging through the North End, killing 21 people and causing widespread destruction. Molasses, made into industrial-grade alcohol, was used to develop munitions for World War I. The impact of the molasses flood on individual lives is explored in the context of sweeping changes brought about by World War I, Prohibition, the anarchist movement, immigration, and the expanding role of big business in society.

The OBOB Planning Committee, made up of representatives of the library and various town departments and commissions, selected the book because of its compelling drama and its exploration of historical themes still relevant to our lives today. Please contact the reference desk at 617-993-2870 if you would like to request a copy of the book. For more information about the author and the book, see

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2 Responses to One Book One Belmont 2011

  1. William F. Reynolds says:

    I would like to suggest that for 2012 One Book One Belmont should choose a book that deals with climate change. While many people in Belmont may grant that this is a real problem, they may not realize how serious the problem is and how urgent it is to take action. Stirring up a town-wide discussion of it might help to create the needed consciousness in the general public and break through the current apathy.

    I would leave it to others to pick the book; probably Sustainable Belmont could help. Joseph Romm’s “Hell and High Water” is excellent but somewhat dated. I believe that some town in the Boston area has read Thomas Friedman’s “Hot, Flat, and Crowded,” which has the advantage of being written by a politican conservative who understands the situation.

  2. Fred says:

    I noticed Dark Tide by the checkout a few weeks back and checked it out, read it, and liked it. I was somewhat surprised to see that is it part of the ‘one book one belmont’ program when I was in the library today. If the intent is to have a broad set of people read the same book, I would expect to see 12++ copies to encourage the ‘we are all reading this’ concept. Maybe there are lots of copies, but today, like last time, I saw but the one.

    In terms of future other topics, I would suggest Belmont-centric topics where the library can offer something no other forum is likely to. Like:
    – History of McLean
    – How Belmont was carved out of neighboring towns
    – Belmont in revolutionary war
    – Famous citizens of Belmont
    – Famous houses of Belmont

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