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The Johnstown Flood | [David McCullough]

The Johnstown Flood

At the end of the last century, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, was a booming coal-and-steel town filled with hardworking families striving for a piece of the nation's burgeoning industrial prosperity. In the mountains above Johnstown, an old earth dam had been hastily rebuilt to create a lake for an exclusive summer resort patronized by the tycoons of that same industrial prosperity, among them Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and Andrew Mellon.
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Publisher's Summary

At the end of the last century, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, was a booming coal-and-steel town filled with hardworking families striving for a piece of the nation's burgeoning industrial prosperity. In the mountains above Johnstown, an old earth dam had been hastily rebuilt to create a lake for an exclusive summer resort patronized by the tycoons of that same industrial prosperity, among them Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and Andrew Mellon. Despite repeated warnings of possible danger, nothing was done about the dam. Then came May 31, 1889, when the dam burst, sending a wall of water thundering down the mountain, smashing through Johnstown, and killing more than 2,000 people. It was a tragedy that became a national scandal.

Graced by David McCullough's remarkable gift for writing richly textured, sympathetic social history, The Johnstown Flood is an absorbing portrait of life in 19th-century America, of overweening confidence, of energy, and of tragedy. This is a powerful historical lesson for our century and all times: the danger of assuming that because people are in positions of responsibility they are behaving responsibly.

©1968 David McCullough; (P)2005 Simon & Schuster Inc. AUDIOWORKS is an imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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  •  
    Janice Sugar Land, TX, United States 10-26-11
    Janice Sugar Land, TX, United States 10-26-11 Member Since 2010

    Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.

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    "Human Tragedy"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wolfpacker Memphis, TN 07-22-08
    Wolfpacker Memphis, TN 07-22-08 Member Since 2005

    Curtis

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    "You Can Really Picture It All"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joshua Philadelphia, PA, USA 08-11-05
    Joshua Philadelphia, PA, USA 08-11-05
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    "McCullough / Herrmann a great combo"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Meggin Reno, NV, United States 09-28-14
    Meggin Reno, NV, United States 09-28-14 Member Since 2009

    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.

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    "Not sure why I put off listening - EXCELLENT book!"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon Seattle, WA USA 10-06-11
    Sharon Seattle, WA USA 10-06-11 Member Since 2007
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    "Disappointing McCullough"

    He's always marvelous except this time. What a dismal story. Actually not much of a story. Just lots of water-logged misery. But Edward Herrmann is always a winner...and certianly not dry!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alan Chicago, IL, United States 08-26-09
    Alan Chicago, IL, United States 08-26-09
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    "Detailed and Spectacular"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nathan Atlanta, GA, USA 01-17-09
    Nathan Atlanta, GA, USA 01-17-09
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    "Recommended"

    I recommend this book.

    Similar in quality to David McCullough's other books (although I prefer 1776 much more).

    I thought the chapters before the were helpful, but seemed to drag. Once the "flood" begins, the book really picks up speed.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeremy New Market, MD, USA 05-09-08
    Jeremy New Market, MD, USA 05-09-08 Member Since 2004
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    "Excellent book"

    This was an excellent audiobook. I went to the Johnstown Flood museum several years ago, but found this to be much more informative (I'm sure a repeat visit would add to the book, though). Very well done. It can be a bit tricky to keep the geography in your head without a map, but it's still easy to follow.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Walker IN 09-26-05
    C. Walker IN 09-26-05 Member Since 2005

    CWalker

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    "great read"

    Very engaging. Good human interest. I had no idea of the magnitude of this event. Couldn't put it down.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DJDecca San Francisco Bay Area 07-26-14
    DJDecca San Francisco Bay Area 07-26-14 Member Since 2012
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    "History that Reads Like a Thriller"
    If you could sum up The Johnstown Flood in three words, what would they be?

    Whose to blame?


    What did you like best about this story?

    I loved how the perspectives shifted from the people in the valley and the rich folks at the fishing & hunting club.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I really enjoyed the build up to the flood for its fascinating insights into class differences and the mistakes that lead up to the weakness of the dam.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    The people on the mountain. The people in the valley.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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