In this unique telling of the legal proceedings following the 1917 Halifax Explosion, Joel Zemel utilizes the first-hand courtroom testimony of the officers and men of S/S Mont Blanc and S/S Imo as well as Royal Canadian Navy personnel and other key witnesses to describe the events leading up to the disaster and beyond. The film documentary editing style of the author brings an immediacy to the events as if they were happening in real-time as the reader is placed on the decks of the ships, in the wheelhouses and on the adjacent Halifax and Dartmouth shores as the tragedy unfolds. The courtroom dramas following the explosion are also brought to life with the same techniques as the evolution of the scapegoating of Captain Le Médec, Pilot Francis Mackey and the chief examining officer of the port, Acting Commander F. Evan Wyatt becomes apparent. Many enduring questions are answered and many myths dispelled. Scapegoat is an enjoyable and informative reading experience that ultimately shows human reactions to tumultuous events are, at the very least, consistent throughout time - whether the distant past or present day.
Joel Zemel lives and works in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He is a professional guitarist and teacher and has been involved in the Halifax music scene for the past forty-five years. He specializes in jazz but is well-versed in blues & folk styles and is adept at these genres on both electric & acoustic guitar. He worked for many years performing on local and national television programmes, in live theatre and concert venues. He has been involved in numerous commercial recording projects as a musician, arranger and producer. Over the years, he has performed with many diverse national and international personalities.Joel spent several years as a documentary filmmaker. He produced, directed and composed music for own independent films, My Doctor’s Family (1993) and Sonja (1995). He was a part of the local independent film community as an editor and sound recordist. He still creates soundscapes for experimental films. He became interested in the field of historical research in 1998 and is listed as on HRM Archive’s list of professional researchers. He turned to writing in 2006 and until 2012, was a full-time caregiver at home. Recently, Joel completed and self-published his first book, a non-fiction work entitled Scapegoat - the extraordinary legal proceedings following the 1917 Halifax Explosion, which was licensed to New World Publishing (Canada) in 2014. He is presently editing his novel, The Fiddler’s Refrain; slated for publication in 2015. He presently maintains an online music and film information website, www.svproductions.com and a Halifax Explosion and related history website, www.halifaxexplosion.net.