Book review of

Book Review: Long Mile Home – Scott Helman & Jenna Russell

Long Mile Home cover

Title: Long Mile Home: Boston Under Attack, the City’s Courageous Recovery, and the Epic Hunt for Justice
Author: Scott Helman & Jenna Russell
ISBN: 9780525954484
Pages: 352
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Publisher: Dutton
Genre: Nonfiction, History/Current Events
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 out of 5


On April 15, 2013, during the historic Boston Marathon, two bombs went off that shook the foundations of the event and shocked the country. Now, a year after those horrific events, Boston Globe journalists Scott Helman and Jenna Russell deliver a narrative account of the tragedy, following the lives of runners, doctors, first responders, and marathon officials as they tell the story of that fateful day.

Snapshot Review:

A well-written and intense story of courage and eventual triumph, Long Mile Home: Boston Under Attack, the City’s Courageous Recovery, and the Epic Hunt for Justice is a gripping, if often difficult, narrative of the days and weeks surrounding the Boston Marathon attacks.

Full Review:

It hasn’t even been a year since the Boston Marathon attacks, so it’s easy to remember the shock and horror that all of us felt as those events unfolded. But the news coverage was shaky, with misinformation and rampant, irresponsible speculation around every corner, so even now for many it’s hard to say what really happened. Boston Globe journalists Scott Helman and Jenna Russell have taken it upon themselves not only to set the record straight, telling the full and true story of the Boston Marathon bombing, but also to share with us the stories of the victims, their families, the first responders, the investigators, and those who fought valiantly to save lives.

The authors accomplish this in Long Mile Home: Boston Under Attack, the City’s Courageous Recovery, and the Epic Hunt for Justice by following seven different people leading up the marathon. We meet a police officer who has gotten clean after realizing she was addicted to alcohol, a doctor who runs the marathon every year, a popular waitress who decides to go grab drinks with friends by the finish line. The authors bring each of these people to life, telling their stories through the adrenaline of the marathon to its bloody and horrible aftermath. The reader becomes emotionally invested with each of these people. Will they be okay? It’s an impressive way to personalize the larger events of the day, and the authors do a great job with it.

The authors of Long Mile Home do briefly discuss the mixed media coverage of the event, noting that the media was responsible for misinformation, but they don’t make an issue of it. This account is about actual events, not media coverage of them. It feels comprehensive and complete; it’s clear that the authors did their research, mining every available source of information to paint as complete a picture as possible. The result is a definitive account of these events that is approachable, easy to read, and absorbing.

There are many times when Long Mile Home will make you sick to your stomach. Not only does the reader hear about injury after injury, but the manhunt for the Tsarnaev brothers is included as well. Readers will see things through their twisted eyes with a sickening feeling, trying to understand and make sense of what might have brought them to want to hurt so many innocent people. Though the book is written in narrative form and is absolutely gripping, it’s not easy to read simply because of the difficult subject matter. However, it is worth absolutely every second you spend with it. You may not find understanding through this narrative, as indeed, there likely is none to find, but you will feel a sense of closure and healing with its last pages.

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  1. trish422 says:

    I do remember the absolute chaos of reporting at that time, not quite as bad as what happened with Flight MH370 but close. Interesting to think about that as a reason a book is needed.


  1. […] Long Mile Home: Boston Under Attack, the City’s Courageous Recovery, and the Epic Hunt for Jus… – Scott Helman & Jenna Russell […]

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