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The Resource Ruthless tide : the heroes and villains of the Johnstown flood, America's astonishing gilded age disaster, Al Roker

Ruthless tide : the heroes and villains of the Johnstown flood, America's astonishing gilded age disaster, Al Roker

Label
Ruthless tide : the heroes and villains of the Johnstown flood, America's astonishing gilded age disaster
Title
Ruthless tide
Title remainder
the heroes and villains of the Johnstown flood, America's astonishing gilded age disaster
Statement of responsibility
Al Roker
Creator
Author
Subject
Language
eng
Summary
Presents a narrative history of the 1889 Johnstown Flood to chronicle key events, the damage that rendered the flood one of America's worst disasters, and the pivotal contributions of key figures, from dam engineer John Parke to American Red Cross founder Clara Barton
Review
  • TV meteorologist Roker (The Storm of the Century) revisits the Johnstown Flood, the 19th-century disaster that destroyed a Pennsylvania town, killed thousands, and raised questions of privilege and liability that still resonate. In the Allegheny Mountains, a poorly engineered dam holding back a lake created for an exclusive summer resort gave way on May 31, 1889, sending 20 million tons of debris-choked water hurtling into the town. Roker, with a weatherman’s eye, describes the formation of the unprecedented rainstorms that led to the flooding and the “monster unchained” that was the flood itself. He also tells the stories of locals—including Gertrude Quinn, a child who rode out the catastrophe on a floating mattress, and Victor Heiser, a teenager who helped try to save others from postflooding fires—and connects the incident to larger questions: “Sometimes,” he writes, “people do things to change the natural situation in ways that, regardless of intention, create human responsibility.” The wealthy members of the resort (among them Andrew Carnegie) didn’t mean to hurt anyone, but caused the destruction through negligence, for which they were not held legally accountable. Roker’s story is both a good yarn and a morality tale about how the powerful can avoid blame for problems caused by their privilege. (May) --Staff (Reviewed 03/26/2018) (Publishers Weekly, vol 265, issue 13, p)
  • /* Starred Review */ Imagine 14.55 million cubic meters of water from a private human-made lake rushing down a mountainside, laying waste to towns, factories, railroads and homes, and killing 2,209 people after its dam failed from a relentless rainstorm and years of deliberate neglect from corporate greed. While this sounds like the plot of an ecodisaster movie, this "Great Flood" actually occurred in May 1889 in the steel-manufacturing region surrounding Johnstown, PA. NBC's Today show cohost and weatherman Roker (The Storm of the Century) recounts the stories of the townspeople who were victims of Gilded Age excess. He details how the flood-prone region's rivers and ecosystem were compromised by factory run-off, excessive development, and the failure of the dam, which also contained the lake at a private fishing resort frequented by business tycoons such as Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick. VERDICT Science history and American studies students as well as general readers will find Roker's harrowing tale of survival and loss, which draws from archival resources and oral histories captured in David McCullough's definitive history, The Johnstown Flood, reads like a nail-biting thriller. --Donna Marie Smith (Reviewed 04/01/2018) (Library Journal, vol 143, issue 6, p91)
  • /* Starred Review */ The ebullient weather personality from NBC's Today show returns with a flood account that is both intimate and alert to the wealth and class distinctions highlighted by the 1889 Johnstown Flood. Roker, who wrote about a 1900 hurricane (The Storm of the Century, 2015, etc.), has some sizable footsteps to follow in this one—David McCullough's 1968 The Johnstown Flood—but he fills them nicely in this fresh account of the Pennsylvania dam break that destroyed Johnstown and killed more than 2,000 people. Roker is especially adept at focusing on key individuals—residents, politicians, movers and shakers, rescue workers—and letting their stories represent the myriads of others. One harrowing tale involves the improbable rescue of a little girl in the swirling torrent that struck the town during a heavy rain when a dam, 14 miles away (and above the town), broke and sent millions of tons of water surging down into Johnstown and some small communities that lay in the torrent's path. The author is also very alert to the class issues that underlay it all. The earthen dam formed a lake for some very wealthy citizens (among them, Andrew Carnegie), who, of course, denied responsibility afterward. Roker notes that only 35 of the 60 members of this wealthy-person's club contributed to the relief fund. The author also goes into detail—sometimes too much—about some of the individuals involved: Carnegie, Clara Barton (whose Red Cross would swell in public awareness afterward), and numerous others. He points out some inconsistencies in American thought, as well—about how, for instance, we are quick to help people suffering in a natural disaster but not suffering from everyday poverty and disease. He also discusses some of the nasty anti-immigrant feelings that emerged during the cleanup. An exciting, tragic story seasoned with sensitive social analysis and criticism. (Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2018)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10658047
Cataloging source
FMG
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1954-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Roker, Al
Dewey number
974.8/77
Illustrations
illustrations
Index
index present
LC call number
F159.J7
LC item number
R65 2018
Literary form
non fiction
Nature of contents
bibliography
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Floods
  • Johnstown (Cambria County, Pa.)
http://bibfra.me/vocab/lite/titleRemainder
the tragic epic of the Johnstown flood
Label
Ruthless tide : the heroes and villains of the Johnstown flood, America's astonishing gilded age disaster, Al Roker
Instantiates
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (pages 285-292) and index
Carrier category
volume
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
on1035633167
Dimensions
24 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
vi, 305 pages
Isbn
9780062445513
Lccn
bl2018045324
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Other physical details
illustrations
System control number
(OCoLC)1035633167
Label
Ruthless tide : the heroes and villains of the Johnstown flood, America's astonishing gilded age disaster, Al Roker
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (pages 285-292) and index
Carrier category
volume
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
on1035633167
Dimensions
24 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
vi, 305 pages
Isbn
9780062445513
Lccn
bl2018045324
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Other physical details
illustrations
System control number
(OCoLC)1035633167

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