On Saturday night, November 28, 1942, Boston suffered its worst disaster ever. At the city's premier nightspot, the Cocoanut Grove, the largest nightclub fire in U.S. history took the lives of 492 people – nearly one of every two people on the premises. A flash of fire that started in an imitation palm tree rolled through the overcrowded club with breathtaking speed and in a mere eight minutes anyone left in the club was dead or doomed. The Grove was a classic firetrap, the product of greed and indifference on the part of the owners and the politicians who had knowingly allowed such conditions to exist. Against the backdrop of Boston politics, cronyism, and corruption, author John C. Esposito re-creates the drama of the fire and explores the public outcry that followed. In retelling the horrific events of one of America's most cataclysmic tragedies, Esposito has fashioned both an incomparably gripping narrative and a vibrant portrait of the era. But it is the intense, detailed narrative of the fire – harrowing yet compulsively readable – and the trials that followed that will stay with the reader well after they finish this remarkable book. "[Esposito] reminds us that the cautionary tale of the Cocoanut Grove is still relevant today." (New York Law Journal)
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