The [Johnstown is] one of the country's greatest and most storied civilian disasters, which, in a few hours, killed more than 2,000 persons and caused millions of dollars in property damages.... It's re-creation now by David G. McCullough...is a superb job, scholarly yet vivid, balanced yet incisive. The flood was not a "natural" disaster nor an act of God, Mr. McCullough finds, but the consequence of misfeasance by the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, a collection of Pittsburgh swells that included Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick. The club's dam gave way, starting the flood on its way. Those responsible were never brought to justice, which was an irony of the flood, but the ethos of that age. Mr. McCullough makes the most of it in a book of interesting social history.
Alden Whitman - New York Times (4/24/1968)
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.
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