Monday, December 09, 2013

The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough

As ususal, one book leads to another - this was one of David McCullough's earlier books (1968).
May 31, 1889 - a wall of water from a breached dam 70 feet high smashed through Johnstown, Pa., killing in minutes over 2,000 men, women and children.
This is a simple tragic story that was caused by improper building techniques of the time, with the tipping point of a storm with huge amounts of rain, adding to a full dam reservoir.
Tragic stories of whole familes slipping off a roof into the flood, fires starting from leaking gas into a log jam where people had sheltered after escaping from the flood, then dying in the fire.
Stories of bravery and rescue, and at the end of the book, the sad list of deaths.   Not exactly cheery Christmas fare, but a fascinating look at the 1800's.

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