Speaker, Coach, Author - in Reno, NV (A GREAT place!) I've been an avid Audible fan for several years. Listen on my iPhone many hours each week.
For whatever reason, this one just sat in my library until I finally thought, "Well, I'll give it a try." It was outstanding! I want more of David McCullough's books and Edward Hermann's narration was just right! THANKS for the story and the history.
As the title states, to hear this book is like you were there. A lover of history will surely like this.....an amazing event described wonderfully and narrated very well.
This writing and narration really put you in the middle of the flood. So descriptive and gut-wrenching! Also, you will learn quite a bit about the class struggles, banking magnates, and feel of the times.
David McCullough has done it, yet again. A great story of this significnat tragedy told in a compelling manner. Hermann does his usual good job in keeping the story moving along. I was interested particularly with the post-flood stories and also of the many myths that came from the flood in later years.
The author has, once again, delivered the goods. A great historical tale about a (generationally) liitle known topic. I had always known about the flood, but never the details. McCullough is able to deliver a terrific work that is hard to put down. Edward Herrmann, better known in some of his acting roles as FDR or the Chrysler guy--uses his unusual and instantly recognizeable voice to deliver a book that you feel is being read like a good story with important parables. His other reads are equally wonderful by the way.
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
I had not read much about the cause of the flood or what made it such a epic tragedy, so I learned a lot from this book. I was impressed by the incredible courage of many of the townspeople attempting to save themselves, their families and their neighbors, but also saddened and appalled at the callousness of some of the club members whose arrogance contributed to the immensity of the damage and loss of life. A real eye opener into those times. Very well read as always by Edward Herrmann.
I knew nothing about Johnstown. I even had to look on Google Maps to see where it is. Now, I feel cheated that this was never covered in any history class I ever took. What a monumental event! McCullough makes the story very interesting and the reader is superb. I just finished "The Wright Brothers", which McCullough reads himself, but this reader is even better. If you have never heard f this event or know little about it, this is a must read for any fan of history.
He sure knows how to weave history with interesting personal stories, I grew up in the valley and thought I knew all about the flood, but I learned so much through this book!6
In a small, peaceful town on the Equator, the sun always sets at 6, and a good audiobook is always the perfect evening companion.
The prolific and uncommonly accessible historian David McCullough chose the great Johnstown Flood of 1889 as the subject for this book, his first, in 1968. The traits that would define his works are evident here: engaging writing, historical credibility, and deep and detailed research that yields such personal and personable accounts of places and characters, you’d swear McCullough must have been present himself. (It’s also just slightly dated. In 1968 we were still saying “all men” instead of “all people,” but that’s history for you.)
The chronology unfolds against a portrait of Johnstown as a working class, company town, populated by hardworking people with big families. It was a steel town—a major center for the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Cambria Iron Works. Fourteen miles upstream on the Little Conemaugh River and 450 feet higher than the town, the reservoir known as Lake Conemaugh held 20 million tons of water behind an aging earthen dam. What was built as a reservoir to feed a defunct canal system had become the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, a private retreat for Pittsburgh industrialists and their families.
A convergence of factors—a river narrowed by development, unwise changes to the dam, and an unprecedented series of rainstorms—combined to produce the horror of May 31. Water burst from the swollen lake and roared downstream, preceded by a wall of debris taller than the 78-foot stone railroad bridge it first crushed. The flood wiped smaller villages off the earth on its way to Johnstown, where it arrived in less than an hour. The destruction was nightmarish, and then became unimaginably worse when a mountain of wreckage, bound together by the remains of a barbed wire factory, piled against the town’s Stone Bridge and burst into flames. The official death toll was 2,209.
It would have been easy to portray this tragedy simply as the negligence of evil, uncaring tycoons whose poor management of their private lake unleashed it on a doomed populace. And that would be fairly accurate. But McCullough explores the many subtleties instead, getting around to culpability with scarcely an hour to go. While neither the exclusive club nor any of its gold-plated members was ever held accountable, the case did lead to the standard of "strict liability" that was adopted by American law in the next century.
Narrator Edward Herrmann delivers a seemingly effortless, expressive performance that is warm and easy to listen to.
Technical note: Many very long silences, some between chapters and some not, make me think several times that the player had stopped working.
An amazingly detailed look at a horrific historical event. Narrator is perfect for this book. The book's apex is, of course, the flood itself, but the choices, actions, and attitudes of the people both before and after the event makes for an interesting look at society too. No higher recommendation.