The stunning story of one of Americas 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 nations 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 McCulloughs 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.
Writer and historian David McCullough is a popular lecturer, teacher, television host, and award-winning author of three widely acclaimed books: The Path Between the Seas, The Great Bridge, and Mornings on Horseback. He is twice winner of the American Book Award (formerly the National Book Award) and winner of the Parkman Prize, the highest honor conferred by the Society of American Historians. Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Mr. McCullough spent summers in his youth in the mountains near Johnstown, and was educated at Yale University. He lives with his family in Washington, D.C.
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