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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.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (975 )
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  •  
    AP pa 10-01-12
    AP pa 10-01-12 Member Since 2015

    Ann

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very Informative!"

    I enjoyed this audiobook. It was very informative, there was a lot of history about Johnstown in it. The narrator was very good also. If you like historical books, I recommend it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    PJ Eustis, FL, United States 09-17-12
    PJ Eustis, FL, United States 09-17-12 Member Since 2013
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    "A compelling story"

    David McCullough writes so well this flows like fiction. He is well-detailed, but doesn't overwhelm. Edward Hermann's performance is wonderful--he's so easy to listen to. I had known almost nothing about the Johnstown Flood and found this to be a great listen. My husband and I listened on a long trip and it kept us both engaged and eager to find out what would happen next. It also stimulated a lot of discussion for us. Would recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Wayne, PA, USA 09-10-12
    David Wayne, PA, USA 09-10-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Johnstown Flood is excellent"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Recommended...anything by David McCullough, in my view, is an excellent piece.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Johnstown Flood?

    The details on how the flood moved down the mountain and the background on the decisions of the private club members that caused it.


    Have you listened to any of Edward Herrmann’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Mr. Herrmann is the best reader I have heard


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The aftermath descriptions we painful.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kitty's doorman Davis, CA USA 09-03-12
    Kitty's doorman Davis, CA USA 09-03-12 Member Since 2014

    Davis CA

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    "Not one of David McCullough's best"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I am usually a big fan of David McCullough, but this book didn't have his usual flare and sweep. It is overly stuffed with details that don't add to the main theme of social inequality and environmental irresponsibility. The reader's flat delivery doesn't help.


    Would you be willing to try another book from David McCullough? Why or why not?

    I have read and listened to a number of McCullough's books and know that he can deliver excellent popular history.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    It was hard to tell whether a different reader could have improved this text.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    No

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frances Berkeley, CA, USA 08-04-12
    Frances Berkeley, CA, USA 08-04-12 Member Since 2003
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    "Engaging story of a catastrophic event"

    David McCullough's description of the flood and different individual's experiences is captivating. The narration is excellent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Johnny 06-15-12
    Johnny 06-15-12
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    "Outstanding"
    Where does The Johnstown Flood rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    If it's not the absolute best, it's certainly a contender.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The story unfolds in an excellent balance. It's reminiscent of a three act play: the beginning act introduces the potential peril of the South Fork Dam and the folly of its construction, Act II sees the dam break and the artificial lake sweep through the valley bringing with it horrific destruction, and Act III--perhaps the most interesting, believe it or not--provides an excellent presentation and examination of the aftermath. This is stunning, engaging history.


    What about Edward Herrmann’s performance did you like?

    Herrmann couldn't possibly be any better.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Blair Gilbert, AZ, United States 02-26-12
    Blair Gilbert, AZ, United States 02-26-12 Member Since 2014
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    "Couldn't stop listening to the story."
    What about Edward Herrmann’s performance did you like?

    I could read about anything that David McCullough wrote, or that Edward Hermann narrated. Put them together and you have a dynamite combination for an audio book. By far my favorite audio books narrator.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon Seattle, WA USA 10-06-11
    Sharon Seattle, WA USA 10-06-11 Member Since 2015
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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 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donald Olympia, WA, United States 08-28-11
    Donald Olympia, WA, United States 08-28-11
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    "The Johnstown Flood"

    Some of the narrative was a bit laborious at times but overall the book is historically informative, interesting and enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lewis Clayton Jr. 02-10-11 Member Since 2014
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    "Not a five star"

    This was an interesting story, but not a five star for me. However it was above average if you care anything at all about history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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