It exploded like a bomb or a bombo-genesis, as meteorologists would later describe it. It slipped into a New England February with winds that would go from strong to hurricane force in a few hours, catching everyone by surprise. Snow was expected, but no one expected that the system would move so quickly through New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island only to stall off the coast of Nantucket, allowing it to concentrate its full strength along the Massachusetts coast. It dumped more than three feet of snow over a thirty-three hour period before finally heading out to sea, leaving massive destruction, thousands of motorists stranded in their cars and conditions that would eventually claim ninety-nine lives in its wake. The intensity of the storm broke sea walls and created tide surges that inundated coastal communities and left thousands homeless. It was the Blizzard of 1978, and there are many who remember its terrifying might.
The Friends of the Raynham Public Library mark the 40th anniversary of the Blizzard of ‘78 with the selection of Ten Hours Until Dawn, The True Story of Heroism and Tragedy Aboard the Can Do, by Michael Tougias, as the Raynham Reads 2018, One Book, One Community.
As disastrous as blizzard conditions were on land, the storm’s menace also placed in peril those at sea. Ten Hours Until Dawn recounts the tragic effort of the crew of the pilot boat, the Can Do, to rescue a tanker run aground and floundering off the Salem coast. It’s a devastating and true account of bravery and death at sea, and although we know the outcome from the beginning, the story still holds us in its grip. Tougias has written a masterful tale, a fitting selection for this year’s Raynham Reads.
Raynham Reads: One Book, One Community is designed to encourage a conversation in the community. It’s intended to bring people together through reading and discussion. When we all read the same book, we have something in common to talk about – a shared experience. We become a community of readers who share ideas, opinions, likes and dislikes. In today’s world, where there is so much that divides us, the shared experience of reading the same book is an appealing way to bring us together.
Books are available at the library beginning Monday, February 5. Book discussion, a documentary film and an eye-witness account are scheduled for March and April. Michael Tougias, the author, joins us on Sunday afternoon, April 29. The public is invited to share their photographs and memories of the Blizzard of ’78 on the library’s Blizzard Board. For a full schedule of Raynham Reads 2018 events, visit the library’s website, raynhampubliclibrary.org, or pick-up a schedule of events at the library.