Saturday, February 20, 2010


I recently read "The Secret Sentry" by Matthew M. Aid. I won't be giving a serious review of this book but I will note it contains an egregious error. On page 179 in connection with the 1983 Beirut marine barracks bombing the book states "... The resulting explosion was massive, the equivalent of twenty thousand pounds of TNT detonating, giving it the sorrowful distinction of being the largest nonnuclear explosion in history. ...". This is of course wrong. Wikipedia provides a list of large non-natural non-nuclear explosions many of which involved the equivalent of much more than 10 tons of TNT. Three rather well known examples are the Halifax Explosion , the Texas City Disaster and the Port Chicago Disaster each of which was upwards of 100 times as large. There have been many other lesser explosions which were still bigger than the marine barracks explosion. It is hard for me to understand how someone could make such an error and it is the sort of thing that in my eyes severely damages the author's credibility in general.

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