Shattered City: The Halifax Explosion and the Road to Recovery


Shattered City: The Halifax Explosion and the Road to Recovery is a 1989 Canadian non-fiction book by Janet Kitz describing the experience of the Halifax Explosion with an emphasis on the experience of ordinary people and families who became victims or survivors of the 1917 munitions explosion in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The book broke new ground, making extensive use of oral history interviews conducted by Janet Kitz to tell previously unknown stories from the event, illustrated by documents and photographs collected by the author as well as images and artifacts from the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. The first book published in many years about the explosion, it broke the record for the largest number of books ever sold at a book launch in Nova Scotia[1] and has been credited as creating a renaissance in published accounts about the 1917 disaster.[2] The book has been reprinted several times and has remained a definitive account of the disaster which has influenced numerous works that have followed.[3][4] Janet Kitz went on to write two follow-up books: Survivors: Children of the Halifax Explosion (2000) which explored in more detail the stories of children who survived and December 1917: Revisiting the Halifax Explosion (2006) with Joan Payzant which looked at the impact of the explosion on the landscape of Halifax and Dartmouth.

Shattered City
Cover of the first edition
AuthorJanet Kitz
SubjectCanadian history
PublisherNimbus Publishing
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardcover · paperback)

A CBC television miniseries in 2004 Shattered City: The Halifax Explosion took the same title of the book, but the miniseries had no connection to the book or its author.


  • 1989 1st Edition (Nimbus): ISBN 0-921054-30-0
  • 2004 2nd Edition (Nimbus): ISBN 1-55109-490-8
  • 2008 3rd Edition (Nimbus): ISBN 1-55109-670-6


  1. ^ Dan Soucoup, "Shattered City Sensational", Chronicle Herald, May 16, 2019
  2. ^ Andrew Rankin, "Explosion Authority Janet Kitz Dies at 89", Halifax Chronicle Herald, May 12, 2019
  3. ^ Dean Jobb, “The Halifax Explosion Still Reverberates”, Globe and Mail, December 2, 2017, p. P27
  4. ^ Michelle Brunet, "Halifax Explosion by the Book", Atlantic Books Today, December 3, 2014