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In the Shadow of the Dam: The Aftermath of the Mill River Flood of 1874 Paperback – August 10, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
Johnstown, PA has a 165 acre National memorial park while Williamsburg has a small plaque affixed to a rock in the woods near the old spillway behind no tresspassing signs. Thank you for telling the tale it seems no one wanted to tell...
An absolute must for history buffs!
Greed and hubris lead a group of businessmen to cut corners building a dam. After it breaks, causing loss of homes and lives, it turns out the men responsible don't think it was their fault and, indeed, instead of being punished, they rebuild their factories and end up with homes even grander than before.
UPDATE after a year
As I mull over this book and it's lessons for today, what haunts me is that virtually everyone knew this could happen. Even though it could wash away their families, homes, businesses, no one took action to prevent this disaster.
It was very moving to read my great-great grandfather's dying words, and know that although he was a businessman, he was a decent man. In my reading Joel Jr. spent most of the family fortune trying to rebuild the business on site in Haydenville instead of abandoning the town and people.
I am very grateful to Elizabeth Sharpe for having written In the Shadow of the Dam. It was well written and provided me with information about my family that may have otherwise been forever unknown to me.
I recently finished reading "In The Shadow of The Dam" - including the Epilogue and Appendixes A, B and C. A truly, a marvelous and comprehensive piece of research, rendered in a readable and engaging way. Elizabeth Sharpe's exhaustive gleanings must have been a Herculean task but as a descendent of one of the victims, no doubt a labor of love.
Having grown up in Holyoke, Massachusetts in the 40s and early 50s, I'm quite familiar with the area but regrettably never learned about this tragic and historically significant event while attending the local public schools. Moreover, even though I've driven through Leads, Haydenville, Skinnerville and Williamsburg Massachusetts numerous times, I was never aware of what took place there in the latter part of the nineteenth century.
I was particularly struck by Ms. Sharpe's Epilogue beginning on page 227 as she whetted my appetite to revisit the area and view it through new eyes, as it were. As a young man I was enrolled in General Electric's "Apprentice Program" and traveled weekly to Pittsfield for four years via route #9 ... long before the opening of the Massachusetts Turnpike. Additionally, my family had a cottage on Lake Damon in Chesterfield which again took me through that same area. I wish I knew then what (thanks to her book) I know now as I would have examined the area and simply arrived at my destination later than anticipated.
I thank Elizabeth Sharpe for all her hard work in putting this book together. I'm confident it has been and will continue to be, appreciated by students of local history in general and water power specifically.
It is well known we all drink from wells we did not help to dig. Thank you Elizabeth for letting me drink from yours.
David T. Cousineau
Cape Neddick, Maine and Naples, Florida
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Although it is non-fiction, it is written as a thriller, too. I live on a site that was part of this tragedy. Sharpe has written with detail and balance. Read morePublished 19 months ago by JM
I ordered this book through Amazon and received it very quickly. I could hardly wait to start reading this as I had heard about it as a part of Massachusetts history. Read morePublished on August 8, 2012 by bookworm
I ordered the paperback version and was disappointed that pages of photos in the hardcover book (which my friend ordered) were not in the paperback version I ordered. Read morePublished on October 27, 2010 by Westside Susie