- 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 (691 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,461,419 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 ›
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.
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 ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is up to the standards set by many previous books by Mr. McCullough. I recommend it to anyone interested in a detailed account of the Johnstown flood.Published 1 day ago by Tom G
As the flood waters rose in Williamsport, PA, my very pregnant great-great-grandmother escaped out of an upstairs window along with her two-year-old daughter and pig. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Heather E. Hejduk
Well written historical analysis of a catastrophic man-made event. This is the second book by McCullough that I have read, the other was The Wright Brothers. Read morePublished 11 days ago by JohnB
Riveting - you are there. Very detailed but I could easily follow all of the story threads that created this disaster.Published 11 days ago by Pam
I am really interested in this event which is why I kept plodding along. It was ok but I would have liked more maps.Published 11 days ago by Christine
Good book about floods and mayhem.
I would have loved to see the rich pricks blamed but it probably wasn't their fault.
Life before 1950 = suck!
David McCullough has never disappointed me----just seems to get better and better with age. This book lives up to my expectations, or hopes. Read morePublished 20 days ago by Bruce M. Bailey