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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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  • Jan
  • United States
  • 04-01-15

We are saddened by narrator's demise 12/2015

McCullough always does great work, and not only because of meticulous research. He is well able to bring history to life, and Ed Hermann was skilled at projecting that ability.
"Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Alan
  • Chicago, IL, United States
  • 08-26-09

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

  • Overall
  • Nathan
  • Atlanta, GA, USA
  • 01-17-09

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

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  • Jeremy
  • New Market, MD, USA
  • 05-09-08

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

  • Overall

A little piece of American history

David McCullough has written another excellent book on a little piece of American history. To the nation this was not a momentous event but to the people of Johnstown and the surrounding towns it was a matter of life or death. Several towns in PA were destroyed in hours by the unrelenting flood caused by the failure of an earthen dam. It is a story about our country of which I was unware. David revealed the unscruplous behavior of certain men, but also the generousity of Americans in the face of the tradegy of their fellow citizens. He descibed the heroism of many men and woman and the life or death result of the flood which seemed almost to be the result of the roll of the die.

Well worth a read if you like American history and you will certainly come away with a new understanding of a small part of our nation's history written in clear prose by a master historian.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Another Great Book by McCullough

This book captures every moment and every emotion of this tragic story. History done right... as interesting as it is insightful.

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Should Be Bound in Leather

There are the books you listen to for fun, the books you listen to twice, and the books that teach you much. And then there's David McCullough. The Johnstown Flood is one of those that you wish you could bind in leather, with gold tooling. I must take this down from the "shelf" almost every month to listen to another fascinating nugget of information. It is all here, beautifully narrated by Edward Herrmann .... background, tragedy, triumph, shame, surviving adversity, and it's all true. Masterful!
Audible 20 Review Sweepstakes Entry

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My second Favorite McCullough Book

Perhaps it is because my expectations were lower for this book them for any of his others, but I love this book. I loved his writing, his use of words and his ability to describe the events of the flood vividly but not in an overdone way. I will ponder the solemn reminder at the end taken out of a sermon delivered at the time.

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Beautiful

After visiting, I wanted to learn more. And now, I will visit again in awe.