Day of Days

Day of Days, a Library of Michigan Notable Book Award, 2022.  

Day of Days

In the spring 1927, Andrew Kehoe, the treasurer for the school board in Bath, Michigan, spent weeks surreptitiously wiring the public school, as well as his farm, with hundreds of pounds of dynamite. The explosions on May 18, the day before graduation, killed and maimed dozens of children, as well as teachers, administrators, and village residents, including Kehoe’s wife, Nellie. A respected member of the community, the Kehoe himself died when he ignited his truck, loaded with crates of explosives and scrap metal.

In its portrayal of several Bath school children, Day of Days examines how such a trauma scars one’s life long after the dead are laid to rest and the wounded heal, and how an anguished but resilient American village copes with the bombing, which in its time seemed beyond comprehension, and yet now may be considered a harbinger of the future. One survivor, Beatrice Turcott, who decades later lies on her death bed, recalls the spring of 1927, and how this haunting experience has led her to the conviction that one does not survive the present without reconciling hard truths about the past.

Read the first two chapters of John Smolens, author of
“Day of Days”

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