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4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (5,318 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David McCullough Narrator: Edward Herrmann Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2012 ISBN: 9780743550321
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FROM THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF JOHN ADAMS

At the end of the last 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 portrait of life in nineteenth-century America, of overweening confidence, of energy, and of tragedy. This is a powerful historical lesson for our century and all times: the danger of assuming that because people are in positions of responsibility they are behaving responsibly.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “We have no better social historian.”

    New York Times

  • “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.”

    New Yorker

  • “McCullough has resurrected the flood for a generation that may know it in name only. He proves the subject is still fresh and spectacular.”

    Book World

  • “One of the United States’ most highly regarded popular historians, David McCullough, and one of the best narrators of audiobooks, Edward Herrmann—an AudioFile Golden Voice—together create an excellent production. The story told by McCullough and brought to life in Herrmann’s sonorous voice is a gripping tale.”

    AudioFile

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jason Dills | 2/2/2014

    " 1000 little mistakes had to happen for one enormous disaster to happen. This is a detailed account of how that could and did happen in 19th century USA. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary | 1/17/2014

    " Fascinating book. Well researched; well written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Annie Oosterwyk | 1/5/2014

    " I read this as background for a novel and found it to be even more interesting than the novel itself. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Gail | 1/5/2014

    " BORING !!!!! Maybe because I lived through a less devastating but definitely catastrophic flood here last year........during Hurricane Irene.........maybe too much like a teacher.........but I found this very difficult to get through.........so I skimmed through a lot. I am definitely in the minority though....this is a very highly rated book....so don't go by me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marianne Stehr | 1/5/2014

    " This is a very interesting true account of a devastating flood in 1889. It is more interesting if you have a tie to the community. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kristi | 12/25/2013

    " This book is really poorly written - McCullough is too focused on minute details, the timeline is disjointed, and there's no map or general overview of the events. But it was interesting to see similarities in how disasters are handled today - the amazing rush of monetary donations, the gross exaggeration of the media, the need to blame foreigners, and the desire of some to say the disaster was caused by God wanting to punish a sinful group of people. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie | 12/21/2013

    " everything he writes makes history every bit as interesting as any fiction you will ever read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patricia | 12/14/2013

    " I enjoyed this book far more than I expected. Even though the outcome is known.....the backstory made it a real page turner "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Caramel Bella | 12/7/2013

    " Although the history of the flood is significant, the storyteller did not need 200 pages to tell it... maybe 80 pages max. ;-) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brooke | 10/1/2013

    " This was a very great, educational book. Very difficult reading material. But this non-fiction description of the Johnstown flood was interesting. Took a LONG time to read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tamara | 10/1/2013

    " ken and i listened to it on cd while traveling. I always appreciate David McCullough's research and i like his style or writing (although a bit wordy at times). This was such a sad story of natural disaster that could have been avoided. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Loretta | 6/28/2013

    " Am listening to this on my Zune. I love David McCullough and want to read everything he's written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom Blumer | 3/23/2013

    " This is McCullough's first historical work, and well worth reading. Very informative. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jet | 1/1/2013

    " McCullough tells history like a story teller. I love reading his works. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emily | 12/28/2012

    " great summary of a national tragedy "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Landpomeranze | 11/13/2012

    " Sorry, but I never got past the first 150 pages or so. Found the extremely detailed descriptions tiresome. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom | 7/21/2012

    " trying to read everything by this guy. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ctetlow | 7/15/2012

    " I was searching for family names as the McGough side of my family lived there. I found some names that might be related. The story was unimaginable but I still had trouble getting through it. Put it down several times, but finally got through it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 K8teebug | 5/4/2012

    " I got this as a Christmas present from my husband after expressing interest in reading a David McCullough book. I had no idea this flood ever happened. I would definitely recommend this book if you liked Devil in the White City. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tom Weyandt | 4/11/2012

    " Fascinating story of one of the biggest natural (or was it) disasters in US history - also happens to be right down the road from where I was born "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cv Rick | 12/30/2011

    " This is an excellent engineering history and a great read into what a disaster was like in the late 1800's. It did get repetitive and I think the author could've relied on less first-hand accounts of the same event and instead pieced things together in a more coherent narrative. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Trudy | 10/26/2011

    " This is the story of "The Great Flood" of May 31, 1889 in which the South Fork Dam broke and destroyed the city of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. On CD it is read by Edward Hermann who is one of my favorites. David McCullough is thorough with the details as usual. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tyler | 9/22/2011

    " I never thought I could get into a book about a flood, but it was very intense and McCullogh did a fine job! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kurt | 8/21/2011

    " First McCullough book I've read. Very impressed with how he brings tragedy to the personal level by telling the stories of individual people. And also surprised how recent in our history this devestation took place and yet I knew nothing of it, save the name. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Charlene | 6/17/2011

    " Some parts almost read like an action movie. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ellenjohnson | 5/29/2011

    " Parts were interesting, but I felt like I lived the flood over and over again... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bonnie | 5/27/2011

    " I have appreciated other historical books by David McCullough and have read a novel set in the time of the Johnstown flood, so this was a book that interested me. It is worth the read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janet | 5/3/2011

    " I had to read this for a book club and ended up liking it. Interesting how so many things had to go wrong to cause such a disaster. Wealth of detail. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janet | 5/2/2011

    " I enjoyed the book but so many names and facts to put together. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Margaret | 5/2/2011

    " This was an interesting account of an unbelievable historical event. I enjoyed it n part because of the difference in the time period from today; it is phenomenal how disasters are viewed almost instantly today and how they relied completely on the printed word and first hand accounts in 1889. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Becky | 3/24/2011

    " Non-fiction account of the terrible Johnstown Flood, near Pittsburgh. Since we spend so much time in that area I found it interesting. But, the style is definitely scholarly and not as gripping as some non-fiction can be. So, unless you have some connection with the area or story, skip it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tina | 3/10/2011

    " He should have taught me history - I would have really enjoyed it. The book could have been boring, but not the way he writes. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Martha | 3/2/2011

    " The first half of the book was a thrilling account of the town as it was before the flood and the big event. But the second half of the book became a bit too much of an archive of figs. and dates (and names). A little dry. "

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About the Author
Author David McCullough

David McCullough, acclaimed historian and New York Times bestselling author, has twice received the Pulitzer Prize, for Truman and John Adams, and twice received the National Book Award, for The Path Between the Seas and Mornings on Horseback. His other acclaimed books are 1776, Brave Companions, The Johnstown Flood, The Great Bridge, and The Greater Journey. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award.

About the Narrator

Edward Herrmann (1943–2014) was one of America’s top audiobook narrators. He won multiple Audie Awards and twenty-two Earphones Awards, and his narration of the King James version of the Bible remains a benchmark in the industry.