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Rainy Days in Cleveland April 8, 2010

Posted by Megan in Non-Fiction, Thoughtful Ramblings.

Spring has arrived, which means chilly rainy days in our fair city of Cleveland! It’s the perfect time to enjoy a good book. It’s difficult to image how that could be any better, but there is a way. Support your local library by cozying up with one of their books or pick up a book from a local publisher…or do both! One local publishing house in Cleveland is Gray & Company Publishers. Throughout the month of April we will be posting reviews of books that have been provided by Gray & Company. The first  is Cleveland’s Greatest Disasters: 16 Tragic True Tales of Death and Destruction by John Stark Bellamy, II. 

In this newest anthology by local historian John Stark Bellamy II the author deviates from his usual historical crime writing to share some of Cleveland’s most destructive and deadly man-made disasters. Among the sixteen tales of tragedy are reports of fires, explosions, and bridge, building and other structural collapses.

Bellamy skillfully sets the stage for each disaster, impartially outlining the facts and reporting the events that led to each tragedy. First person accounts, photographs and copies of newspaper headlines transport the reader to the scene of the tragedy

What makes this collection interesting and readable are the witty remarks and observations of irony that the author includes in each story. In addition, these stories are not solely about fires or bridge collapses. They provide insight into Cleveland’s history from a unique point of view: the working class. The majority of the victims of these deadly disasters were part of the lower and working classes and these tragedies were often the result political or corporate corruption. Finally, these stories are also about the local heroes, the men and women who risked their lives to help others.

The stories in this anthology are fascinating, horrifying, and even uplifting at times. Cleveland’s Greatest Disasters! is a must read for local history buffs.




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