Shattered City recounts the events of December 6, 1917 in the Halifax Harbour. The ship Mont Blanc was loaded with explosive munitions that were to be convoyed to Europe for WWI. While coming into the harbour, another ship called the Imo collided with it and resulted in the Mont Blanc's cargo exploding a short time later. The devastation of Halifax was complete. It was the largest non-nuclear explosion ever. Thousands were killed and even more injured by the explosion. Many people were left homeless as their homes were obliterated by the explosion or burned to the ground as a result of it.
Janet F. Kitz wrote the book after doing much research and interviewing survivors from the event. The book becomes much more personal in this way as she followed individuals through the incident and their recovery over the years. At times, I felt teary eyed reading what happened to many people. In addition to losing their families, many people had to deal with severe injuries from the blast (blindness, broken bones, and burns just to name a few), and the loss of their homes and belongings. What made all of this worse was that it occurred during the winter and a blizzard blew in the following day. The book also describes reconstruction and relief aid after the explosion that is equally as interesting.
Kitz was also one of the people responsible for the exhibit at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax. Many of the people she wrote about in the book have photos and belongings on exhibit in the museum. I am glad that I had the experience of reading the book after I saw the exhibit. However, I would recommend the book even without seeing the exhibit.