- Unknown Binding
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster (1987)
- ASIN: B002X7OW52
- Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 0.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (657 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,613,492 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Johnstown Flood (Paperback) Unknown Binding – 1987
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Top Customer Reviews
This book completely changed my opinion of the Johnstown area and its history. I can't believe how many natives of Johnstown have never read this book. I have recommended this book to many people and not one has ever told me he or she didn't sink themselves into the book and become part of the story.
I now work in Johnstown again. Every workday I drive by the stone bridge that was described so prominently in the book. In my mind I can picture the victims and the debris piled up against the structure. Sometimes I can even hear the water, the flames, and the cries for help. This book is that well written!
If you're from Johnstown and you haven't read this book . . . Shame on you! If you're not from Johnstown, still read this book. Then . . . come to Johnstown and see for yourself what David McCullough brought to life through his writing!
This is definitely a book you'll never forget.
Don't stop here. Read David McCullough's other books.Read more ›
McCullough relates the history of the South Fork property on which the dam and lake were located, including the purchase of this property by rich men from Pittsburgh, among them Carnegie, Frick, Mellon, and Horne. They formed the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, a mountain resort, and built a clubhouse for use by members. Sixteen members also built large "cottages" around the 350-acre lake that had been formed by the earthen dam which was first built between 1840 and 1850. When these men bought the property in 1879, the dam had been totally neglected so "repairs" were made. Unfortunately, no engineer had anything to do with these repairs, which consisted mostly of throwing junk, branches, rocks, and hay against the dam. During this time, the outlet pipes at the bottom of the dam were removed and sold as scrap. Other ingredients in this recipe for disaster were the pipes that were put in near the dam to prevent fish from leaving the lake. These would also, it was found later, allow debris to build up and cause water to spill over the dam more easily.
The inevitable occurred in 1889, on Memorial Day, when a huge storm caused the lake to rise above the dam. With no outlet pipes to lower the level of the water, the water poured over the top, at the center.Read more ›
However, the Johnstown flood is the heart of McCullough's story and he does a very good job in building up to the book's compelling climax. When the dam above Johnstown finally gives way, you will already be on the edge of your reading chair. As usual, in a story about a disaster, there are incredibly brave people and also incredibly foolish ones. I wish McCullough had told us a bit more about the post-flood lives of some of his heroes and heroines, but that is the only real fault I can find with his story. A book like this always makes me wonder how I would have reacted in the midst of the chaos, flood, and fire that was Johnstown on May 31, 1889.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an excellent retelling of a story I'd bet most of us have no knowledge of.Published 16 hours ago by Amazon Customer
Excellent book. Reading.it almost made me feel I was present during the disaster. Am anxious to visit Johnstown and the museum there.Published 5 days ago by Jane B. Houser
Perfect story telling. I was lucky enough to be able to visit Johnstown after reading this book, it made it come alive. Read morePublished 6 days ago by N. E. Anthis
Excellent book, fun to read, great history lesson. Really good story about the wealthy being above the working class.Published 6 days ago by Mike D. Colvin
As all of McCullough's books, this one amazes as well. Probably one of his shortest novels but a great read all the same. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Gaudilady
an enlightening and interesting read documenting how the actions of few had a horrendous impact on many.Published 7 days ago by Tom
Compelling reading for history buffs. Incredibly detailed description of the flood and what it's aftermath meant for the town residents.Published 7 days ago by rwc
The Johnstown Flood
David McCullough was born in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and educated there and at Yale. Read more
Forty foot high wall of logs, water, rail cars, houses and destruction scraped much of Johnstown, PA community down to dirt and took the lives of 2,000 of its residents on May... Read morePublished 10 days ago by Allen B.