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The history of civil engineering may sound boring, but in David McCullough's hands it is, well, riveting. His award-winning histories of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Panama Canal were preceded by this account of the disastrous dam failure that drowned Johnstown, Pennsylvania, in 1889. Written while the last survivors of the flood were still alive, McCullough's narrative weaves the stories of the town, the wealthy men who owned the dam, and the forces of nature into a seamless whole. His account is unforgettable: "The wave kept on coming straight toward him, heading for the very heart of the city. Stores, houses, trees, everything was going down in front of it, and the closer it came, the bigger it seemed to grow.... The height of the wall of water was at least thirty-six feet at the center.... The drowning and devastation of the city took just about ten minutes." A powerful, definitive book, and a tribute to the thousands who died in America's worst inland flood. --Mary Ellen Curtin
The New Yorker A first rate example of the documentary method....Mr. McCullough is a good writer and painstaking reporter and he has re-created that now almost mythic cataclysm...with the thoroughness the subject demands.
Book World McCullough has resurrected the flood for a generation that may know it in name only. He proves the subject is still fresh and spectacular.
John Leonard The New York Times We have no better social historian.
Master storyteller McCollough's telling of an American tragedy shrouded by time is interesting, but his detailing of the media response -- and the Robber Barons' part in the... Read morePublished 20 hours ago by Laura L Reynolds
Of course, it's a very interesting subject and David McCullough is an excellent writer. It's a good thing one can enlarge photos on a smart phone or I'd have had to go to a... Read morePublished 2 days ago by Leila Elia
Terrific book - In the shadow of Katrina and 9/11 this book reminds us of a truly horrendous tragedy! Michael TacchiaPublished 3 days ago by michael tacchia
This was an interesting and compelling read. The author was able to describe the tragic event with just the right level of detail and with rich personal accounts of individual... Read morePublished 3 days ago by Drought Sufferer
Was well written. There were some slow moving passages due to a lot of detail on individuals and their part in the flood. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
I can't tell enough people just how great this book is. its the way he delivers all his research.
I'm busy reading more of his books. Read more
Excellent! Great detail of both the times and the actual event. I would have enjoyed it more if there was a detailed map at the beginning.Published 7 days ago by Thomas M. Wirges
Many years ago I had read a very short version of the Johnstown Flood story. This book was fabulous. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Kathy Slupik
I didn't know very much about this flood until I read this book, and now I can't get it out of my head.
That No One was held accountable just staggers me. Great Book!