human culpability for over 2000 deaths remains an awful reminder of nature's power when not taken into account and careless men's constructions are shoddy.
This book was fascinating - I couldn't put it down. Very well written & narrated. It's a bit ironic how similar this tragic tale of human nature - both good & bad- from over 100 years ago rings true today.
All civil engineer nerds and admirers of great public works like me will love this book.
Devastating, Tragic, Inspiring
I didn't have a favorite character
Edward Herrmann was excellent! His voice and the way he read was perfect for this book. He was easy to listen to and read in a way that made me feel like I was watching rather than listening.
There were several parts of this book that made me feel very sad.
I read some of the other reviews before purchasing this book. I have to agree with the other reviews; this was one of the best books I have ever listened to. I have been to Johnstown Pennsylvania several times and I've heard a few things about the flood, but I had no idea how completely devastating it actually was. The detail in this book, along with Mr. Hermanns narration, make this a "must listen to" book for anyone who has any interest in the Johnstown Flood.
It was a great story and a great performance that kept me entertained the entire time. My three star performance is due to the quality of the production. There are several points throughout where there are long periods of silence. Due to the length, there were a few times that it stopped and I thought my phone had dropped the app or that part of the story might have been cut out. Otherwise very good book.
The audio version is most enjoyed if you are simultaneously doing a search of all the drawings, photos, maps and clippings that are all over the internet. I created a long PDF file of items I collected while listening to the book. I would stop the book and do a search to find visuals to support the section of the book I was at.
Recently I recalled the Johnstown book as I did a map search of the area in Oklahoma where a recent 5.2 earthquake hit. Since I have family in the area I noticed a map of a large water conservation dam just north of the strong earthquake and read how little money there is to check these 30 and 40 year old dams with huge lakes behind them. They were build at a time when earthquakes from flushing water into the earth from gas wells wasn't considered. And with the heavy rains hitting the area one could help but recall the Johnstown flood and book.
He was a perfect match for the author's words.
I am a bit scared that global warming with more heavy rains and many water conservation dams in the southwest is going to create a threat for a similar Johnstown event.
I wish there was a PDF attachment to the audio book with the kinds of graphic supplement I found by Google search.
McCullough has a wonderful way of educating without drily cramming facts and dates into a history lesson. He tells a good story while informing an audience that, if like me, has no inkling that disaster struck Johnstown PA in the 1800s.
Thanks to him, I am now aware of another part of American history! Very easy listening while being enlightened.
No, It was incredibly boring
Leave out severeal hours of details that never connect in the readers head.
Didn't have one.
No, I couldn't finish the first one
This is a true storay about a horrible flood that completely wipes out a town. It involved powerful men like Andrew Carnegie. I expected it to grab my attention and keep it until the end. I was 3 hours into it and the flood hadn't even made it to Johnstown yet. I think it would make (and probably has made) a great documentary, with visual aids and such. But the first 3 hours is all setting the stage, describing the area, where the rivers are and the streets are and the railroads and the other towns and who lived on what street and it just drones on and on and the next thing you know you're planning dinners for the week in your head. I had completely lost interest before the water got to the town.
Excellent and well worth your attention. In 1889 a private dam broke because of poor construction and heavy spring rains. Around 2,200 people were killed and several towns were wiped completely off the map. Plus ça change. . . Journalists wrote of riots (which did not occur) and "hunkies" (Hungarian workers brought in by the rich mill owners so they could pay lower wages) were accused of not helping in the aftermath of the destruction (entirely untrue according to the townspeople). The flood occupied newspapers for weeks and help poured in to the tune of two million dollars (remember that this is in 1889 - a vast sum of money). The book is detailed but is not bogged down by detail. The narrator was excellent.
This is one of the best audiobooks I've listened to. I had trouble tearing myself away. The story was gripping. The causes of the disaster left me appreciating government regulations that protect us from careless development.
It reminded me of Isaak's Storm, also about a weather related tragedy that struck an American town near the turn to the 20th Century. Both books went beyond the events of the day and explored human error that impacted on the tragedy.
Herrmann spoke clearly and I was swept away by his narrative during the fastest moving events in the book. I don't understand why he used up-talk for the more descriptive narrative. It sounded like he was trying to make the material more interesting when it was already quite interesting. No need to modulate his voice up and down in a way no one I know actually speaks.
The entire story was fascinating, so it's hard to pick a particular moment, though I was completely enveloped in the narrative as water topped the dam and the tragedy unfolded in one downriver community after the next. I wanted to shout a warning to the people. Some of the rescue stories were amazing, with many people demonstrating bravery and even heroism. The book was uplifting at the same time it was terribly sad.
I appreciated that McCullough set the stage for this disaster, so the reader understands the times and context. I was very interested in the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, its wealthy membership, and their responsibility and response to the disaster. In fact, reading about the entire disaster response was interesting. I found myself reflecting on and appreciating modern communications, warning systems, and government regulations.