In a remarkable work of narrative journalism, Boston Globe journalists Helman (co-author: The Real Romney, 2012) and Russell (co-author: Last Lion: The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy, 2009), with support from their comrades at the Globe’s news department, map out the heartbreaks, dogged pursuits and courageous acts of defiance that resulted from one of America’s most foolhardy and cowardly acts of terrorism.
Most readers will remember the shock and awe that emerged when two improvised explosive devices—pressure cookers outfitted with nails and other fierce forms of shrapnel—ripped apart the crowds at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon. The authors could have chosen to focus on the single-minded manhunt by the FBI and the Boston police department, which ultimately killed Tamerlan Tsarnaev and arrested his younger brother Dzhokhar with grievous gunshot wounds, and their story is told here with fine reportage. But instead of closing the book with the arrest, the authors tell the story of the event through very human eyes. They include the stories of marathon organizer Dave McGillivray, who was helpless to maintain control, and Heather Abbott, one of more than a dozen people to lose limbs in the bombing. There were three people killed during the bombing, here represented by the family of Krystle Campbell, a young woman whose case of mistaken identity worsened one family’s awful grief. Many of the scenes are heart-wrenching, but it’s worth getting through, as the book portrays a defiant Boston, resilient victims, and the determination of a community that two naïve, dimwitted youths will never strike enough fear into a city that it won’t rise again.
Journalism that demonstrates all the arguments why we need professionals to tell the stories that mark our generations and a valentine to the people that proved Boston Strong.