Saturday, May 1, 2010

Book Reviews:"Dark Tide"; and "Mafia Wife"

She’s Jewish but she married a Mafia hit man. What did she know and when did she know it?

In this review of ”Mafia Wife” I found an intriguing look into a life of luxury filled with terror and ignorance.

A flood of molasses fills the streets of Boston and kills many in its path? Surely this is science fiction! A review of ”Dark Tide-The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919”. It really happened.

Pic of the Day

”Mafia Wife” by Lynda Milito with Reg Potterton

Lynda Milito is Jewish. Which is of no import except she married a Mafia guy and this book tells her story.

Louie was Lynda’s husband. She married him when she was a very young and naïve woman.

Over the years Louie got involved more and more in deeds that were nefarious, to say the least.

The crux of this story is how it’s possible, if one keeps eyes, minds and common sense closed, to live with a really bad guy, a murderer even, and not even know it.

I believed Lynda’s story.

The narrative was good enough to guide the reader through life as lived by Lynda and Louie. In fact, I believed that Louie was not really a bad fellow, that he adored his wife and family and yeah, sometimes he killed people.

There’s a divide, as I see it, in the deeds of Mafia types and their emotional ties. “Some folks need killing,” is how I’ve heard it expressed.

So while the more mundane amongst us cannot fathom putting a pistol behind somebody’s ear and blowing their head away, then going home to a quiet family meal…I think Louie was very capable of minding that mental divide.

As for Lynda, she certainly comes across as a very intelligent lady, very able to run her own very legitimately business. But she had a blind eye when it came to Louie. Louie wasn’t beyond slapping his wife around once in a while.

Eventually Lynda and Louie went separate ways. Eventually Louie disappeared, not to be heard from again.

The writer of this book did a great job. I was immersed in the story from the first page.

The ending of Lynda’s story is a bit down. The story of what happened to her son is horrific.

Louie and Lynda, two folks living a very odd life.

I could never live like that; most of us couldn’t. But some do and their story is intriguing.

”Dark Tide-The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919” by Stephen Puleo

My husband knows this author.

Which has absolutely nothing to do with the review or even the reason that I read the book.

It’s a very old book.

For over several years now I’d passed by this book even though on an occasion or two I’d pull it down, read the book jacket, consider a story about a flood of molasses of all things and…well I’d put it back. Molasses flowing through the streets and killing people in its path? This, to me, was the stuff of science fiction and not True Crime as it was categorized.

One day I pulled the book down off the library shelf, I read the jacket and synopsis of the story, and my mind was boggled. A flood of molasses gets loosed upon the streets of Boston, innocent folks are killed in its sticky path, dear Lord, I just had to read this thing.

It’s how it goes sometimes when I’m considering library books for my reading pleasure.

Husband chanced to see the book lying around. Husband hails from around Boston way. He picked up the book, bounced it around in the air, and told me how he knew the author, how he was a nice fellow.

So husband’s acquaintance with the author is pure happenstance.

There were two entities responsible for the great Molasses flood. Yes, a huge container of molasses, a component used to make gunpowder in those early days of the 1900’s, did spring a leak and many were killed who chanced to be in the path of the killing fluid.

The company that built the huge container of molasses right on the Boston seaport, USIA…or U.S. Industrial Alcohol, and the Boston municipal authorities who allowed this monstrosity to be built directly in the center of Boston were the two entities that allowed this very sad thing to happen. Some of the victims of the molasses flood died slow and excrutiating deaths.

The author tells the story from the build-up to the horrific event. It seems an accountant…you read right…an ACCOUNTANT, oversaw the building of the big container, a round thing that looks much like big gasoline containers of today. This guy should have stuck to numbers.

Because Boston does get cold in the winter. It also gets warm in the summers. Any container holding many thousands of gallons of molasses, a substance that changes physical dynamics greatly when cold compared to, say, when it gets warm, needs special capabilities…like being able to stretch to accommodate a thinning but expanding fluid should it get warm. Any container meant to hold the stuff properly should account for this sort of thing. An Accountant is hardly trained for this.

I don’t know what the hell the Boston municipal authorities were thinking. The city did get money for rental of the space for the big container. But dear Lord, a huge, HUGE container of molasses sitting directly on the seaport of Boston, adjacent to the center-city fire department, in full view of nearby city housing?

It was 1919 and things were different one must suppose.

That big container could often be heard deep into the night, yawning and yowling as the molasses melted from the daylight sun and solidified to some degree by the nighttime chill. Many nearby residents had nightmares over that alien thing blighting the Boston skyline and intruding on their sleep.

That it would eventually break was inevitable.

USIA blamed the collapse of the container on “anarchists”. There were groups of people referred to as anarchists during that era. I suspect they were like those people with no lives who are always around during U.N. conferences and such.

The author tells the story of the lawsuit, the attempt to get recompense for the almost 20 people who died when that big container erupted.

A lawyer with a conscience…seriously.

It’s a good read. It really happened. After the read I pondered why I waited to long to read about such a fascinating piece of our urban history.

To the Main Blog…Over a Million Page Views


No comments:

Post a Comment