Jeanette's Reviews > The Johnstown Flood

The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough
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really liked it

It's David McCullough non-fiction, which in my experience is written well, inclusive to elemental tangents, and also tries to have chronological and historical record in as accurate a measure as it is possible. Amid witness research and dating too. He gives chapter and verse for events and actions in a way that doesn't settle himself and his own interpretations, opinions as central or a larger sideshow. Or any more than a vague side leaning to practical causes and their effects. That's 5 star.

This particular tragedy in the way that it occurred was because the earthen dam was not built nor was it maintained to any safe engineering degree. And it was a sign of the times that the horrid outcomes were not held monetarily or in most other ways held accountable in aftermath.

It's hard for me, a flat lander, to understand the unconcern for living in a hole between mountains and river systems, to tell you the truth. That goes for some "pretty" places in Europe too.

Go high if you want to look at hills and water in combination. Or even for just water views alone.

It's a sad story- from all sides. And yet people build mansions and every mode of abode not 150 feet from oceans today in numerous hurricane alleys. Who lets them and allows it? $$$$
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Reading Progress

August 1, 2018 – Shelved
August 1, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
September 14, 2018 – Started Reading
September 15, 2018 –
page 70
23.18% "You can bet he'd tell the time, place, facts, nuance. And he does.

It always amazes me that humans trust enough (some of them) to just see the "pretty" and love those mountains over them enough to settle into valleys where the sun rises at a "10 o'clock position and sets at a 2 o'clock position". Give me the flat lands where you can see 5 miles away ANY day."
September 16, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-10 of 10 (10 new)

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message 1: by Paula (new)

Paula Kalin Nice review, Jeanette.


message 2: by Ned (new)

Ned Indeed


Jeanette Thanks! When I was a small girl, they were still talking about Galveston in 1900 and this Johnstown Flood. I'm not kidding.


Jeanette And we learned about it in grammar school too in the '50's. With detailed discussions. Incredible that we also had to know 100's of events that scored in American history and their dates.

Facts and not theory. It was a REAL world not interpreted.


message 5: by Barbara (new) - added it

Barbara I have long wanted to know more about this calamity and have yet to read McCullough though I should.


message 6: by Jeanette (last edited Sep 16, 2018 10:50AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jeanette Barbara, in the last 10 years I've read larger and larger percentages of non-fiction every year. Authors like this one are the prime reason.

It's so difficult to tell of an exact history of event without some bias or "eyes" slanting toward information occluded or just reactive positing. It's always there in any length of copy that's human, but the best non-fiction writers beat it down with a stick. And take themselves "out of the picture". He's one. And that kind of telling with so many eye witness and photo accounts is the most true, IMHO.


message 7: by Barbara (new) - added it

Barbara Thanks Jeanette. I have good intentions to read more nonfiction but need to work on it. I do like history and lean towards it for my nonfiction picks.


Diane Standish This was a great read, especially since Johnstown is so close to where I live


Jeanette Then you must know what it's like now too, The photos were primarily before/ after from that very era.


Diane Standish Yes I do


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