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The Johnstown Flood (1968)

av David McCullough

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
2,259726,914 (4.04)216
The stunning story of one of America's great disasters, a preventable tragedy of Gilded Age America, brilliantly told by master historian David McCullough. At the end of the nineteenth 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, classic portrait of life in nineteenth-century America, of overweening confidence, of energy, and of tragedy. It also offers a powerful historical lesson for our century and all times: the danger of assuming that because people are in positions of responsibility they are necessarily behaving responsibly.… (mer)
  1. 20
    En natt att minnas : Titanics undergång av Walter Lord (Stbalbach)
    Stbalbach: McCullough dissected Lord's book for style and technique and was "greatly influenced by Walter Lord's example" in writing The Johnstown Flood.
  2. 00
    The Johnstown Flood av Willis Fletcher Johnson (oregonobsessionz)
  3. 00
    Miraklet i Anderna : mina sjuttiotvå dagar i bergen och den långa färden hem av Nando Parrado (dara85)
  4. 00
    Julie av Catherine Marshall (dara85)
    dara85: Marshall used a lot of the details from the Johnstown Flood to create the flood in the fictional book, Julie.
  5. 00
    Ruthless Tide: The Heroes and Villains of The Johnstown Flood, America's Astonishing Gilded Age Disaster av Al Roker (Anonym användare)
    Anonym användare: One reviewer on Goodreads claimed that both books are similar with Roker's focusing a bit more of the members of the South Fork club than McCullough does.
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» Se även 216 omnämnanden

Visa 1-5 av 72 (nästa | visa alla)
An excellent read, but that's what you expect from David McCullough. 4.5 stars ( )
  Renzomalo | Mar 10, 2024 |
McCullough's first book. A good blend of history, story telling, humor, and gripping drama. The flood section had me spellbound and riveted. ( )
  wvlibrarydude | Jan 14, 2024 |
On May 31, 1899, after days of heavy rainfall, the South Fork Dam perched in the mountains 14 miles upstream of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, failed. The result was a catastrophic loss of human lives and an unimaginable level of destruction. In this book first published in 1968, McCullough paints a full and detailed picture of Johnstown and its citizens, industry and culture, as well as the causes of the flood itself and the practical and legal aftermath.

I picked this book up solely because it was McCullough's first book. Previously, I had just barely heard of the flood and had no clue as to its causes or when it even occurred. Told in an engaging narrative nonfiction style, as with all McCullough's books the story and writing here are excellent. The sequence of events, on the other hand, is rather horrifying. Are the wealthy who placed their own enjoyment above the safety of others ever held to account for the 2,208 lives lost? I think you know the answer. Highly recommended. ( )
  ryner | Jan 10, 2024 |
David McCullough, who died last year, was one of America’s best writers on historical subjects. He studied English and art at Yale, went to work for the U.S. Information Agency during the Kennedy administration, and discovered his true calling when he saw a Library of Congress display of photographs of the devastation caused by the 1889 collapse of a reservoir dam above a Pennsylvania coal mining town. The reservoir was a private fishing resort owned by the titans of the steel industry in Pittsburgh, 65 miles away. The flood wiped out several closely packed communities and killed more than 2,000 people.
When McCullough could not find a book that told him what he wanted to know about the event, he decided to write the book he wanted to read. He faced a significant problem sifting out the “wild exaggerations and outright nonsense” of newspaper accounts that many people of the time found credible. He sifted through photographs, letters, diaries, and interviews with survivors.
The result reads like the best new journalism, letting people tell their stories with enough factual background to make the events clear and vivid. For many, the flood was experienced first as a sound in the dark: “It began as a deep, steady rumble, they would say; then it grew louder and louder until it became an avalanche of sound, ‘a roar like thunder.’” One man described it memorably as “just like a lot of horses grinding oats.”
McCullough’s conclusions are few but telling. The dam builders were not the experts they pretended to be, and the people of Johnstown mistakenly assumed that “the people who were responsible for their safety were behaving responsibly.” These are lessons we still need to learn. ( )
  Tom-e | Nov 13, 2023 |
Wow, I couldn’t even imagine. I picked this book up cuz we went to Johnstown a while back for a wedding, and I really enjoyed the town and area. While there you heard a lot about the flood, but I wish we had time to check out the flood museum and such. I’ll have to plan a trip back, but what I missed out on was really well covered in this book. Just amazing, amazing stuff, that’s so hard to think about happening. A whole town basically just wiped off the map. And then the whole thing really hammered home by the list of deceased at the end. Just wow. ( )
  MrMet | Apr 28, 2023 |
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Again that morning there had been a bright frost in the hollow below the dam, and the sun was not up long before storm clouds rolled in from the southeast.
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The stunning story of one of America's great disasters, a preventable tragedy of Gilded Age America, brilliantly told by master historian David McCullough. At the end of the nineteenth 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, classic portrait of life in nineteenth-century America, of overweening confidence, of energy, and of tragedy. It also offers a powerful historical lesson for our century and all times: the danger of assuming that because people are in positions of responsibility they are necessarily behaving responsibly.

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