Book review: The Johnstown Flood, McCullough

Was reading The Johnstown Flood, by David McCullough this week, because I love a disaster book like no other. You guys should read this, and then Under a Flaming Sky, by Brown, which is about a giant fire that ate whole towns. Then you should read The Outlaw Sea, by Langewiesche, which has informative parts too, but I read for the ferry sinking in the middle third. Then you’ll never sleep again.

Anyway, The Johnstown Flood was fun. There were the dramatic parts, of course, which were horrific.  I enjoyed an early sighting of some engineer named Brinkerhoff. The part that I think might be relevant for today was a poem that could have broader contemporary use. One theory of the dam collapse was that it was due to screens across the discharge pipes that were intended to keep fish in the reservoir for sport fishing. A man named Isaac Reed wrote a poem about the tragedy:

Many thousand human lives–
Butchered husbands, slaughtered wives,
Mangled daughters, bleeding sons,
Hosts of martyred little ones,
(Worse than Herod’s awful crime)
Sent to Heaven before their time;
Lovers burnt and sweethearts drowned,
Darlings lost but never found!
All the horrors that hell could wish,
Such was the price that was paid– for fish!

Farm Water Coalition, Dolphin Group, Westlands, fake Delta front groups. So far you have been concentrating on fake workers’ marches and fake websites, and I see Mike Wade everywhere commenting on any newspaper story that mentions water. Have you considered writing torrid poetry?  You could add a second verse.  “Smelt” practically rhymes with “Hell” already.  Shoot, if I get bored at my meeting today, maybe I’ll write something for you myself.


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4 responses to “Book review: The Johnstown Flood, McCullough

  1. Delta.WildRose

    While I don’t always agree with you, I always enjoy the read. But when I agree with 100%, your blog makes my day!

  2. The Worst Hard Time

  3. onthepublicrecord

    I’m reading that RIGHT NOW!! Well, I mean, that’s the book I’ve got going. Things are about to be very grim.

  4. Dirt: the Story of Civilizations