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History Post-confederation (1867-)

Curse Of The Narrows

by (author) Laura Mac Donald

Initial publish date
Sep 2005
Post-Confederation (1867-)
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2005
    List Price

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Finalist for the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction

National Bestseller

The events of the horrific Halifax explosion are well documented: on December 6, 1917, the French munitions ship Mont Blanc and the Belgian relief ship Imo collide in the Halifax harbour. Nearly 2,000 people are killed; over 9,000 more are injured. The story of one of the world’s worst non-natural disasters has been told before, but never like this.

In a sweeping narrative, Curse of the Narrows tells a tale of ordinary people in an extraordinary situation, retracing the steps of survivors through the wreckage of a city destroyed now one hundred years after the fatal explosion. Laura M. Mac Donald weaves apanoramic chronicle of the astonishing international response to the explosion,telling of the generous donations of money and medical specialists made by thecity of Boston, of how the number of horrific injuries to Halifax’s childreninspired startling developments in pediatric medicine, and exploring the disaster’s chilling link to the creation of the atomic bomb.

Filled with archival photos, defined by meticulous research and infused with a storyteller’s sensibility, Curse of the Narrows is a compelling and powerful book, ever timely one the one-hundredth anniversary of the Halifax explosion.

About the author

LAURA M. MACDONALD was born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and grew up listening to stories of the 1917 explosion. A former television producer, radio commentator and magazine editor, she lives in New York City.

Laura Mac Donald's profile page


  • Unknown, Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction
  • Unknown, Robbie Robertson Dartmouth Book Award (Non-Fiction)
  • Unknown, J.W. Dafoe Book Prize
  • Unknown, Robbie Robertson Dartmouth Book Award (Non-Fiction)
  • Unknown, Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year

Editorial Reviews

“Meticulously crafted, perfectly assembled . . . . Laura M. Mac Donald is a genius of a researcher and a demon of a writer, and the achievement of her marvelous book will last for as long as our memory of this most terrible event.”

Simon Winchester, author of <em>Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883</em>

“A powerful moving book . . . the definitive account of Halifax Explosion, written with elegance and authority.”

Charlotte Gray, <em>The Globe and Mail</em>

“Powerful writing and even more tripping reading . . . . A first-rate page turner.”

Stephen Kimber, author of <em>Sailors, Slackers, and Blind Pigs: Halifax at War</em>

“The most complete account of the disaster so far. A very engaging history.”

<em>Edmonton Journal</em>

“Reading Curse of the Narrows is not unlike following coverage of Hurricane Katrina: the account of the initial disaster holds us riveted . . . there is a present-day resonance to all parts of this tale.”

<em>The New York Times</em>

“A rich and engrossing read that brings to life not only the spectacular and tragic event, but an entire world that was also shifting, transforming, and, yes, exploding.”

Ann-Marie MacDonald, author of <em>Fall on Your Knees</em>

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