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Publisher's Summary

The incredible story of a flood of near-Biblical proportions - its destruction, its heroes and victims, and how it shaped America’s natural-disaster policies for the next century.

The storm began March 23, 1913, with a series of tornadoes that killed 150 people and injured 400. Then the freezing rains started and the flooding began. It continued for days. Some people drowned in their attics, others on the roads when they tried to flee. It was the nation’s most widespread flood ever - more than 700 people died, hundreds of thousands of homes and buildings were destroyed, and millions were left homeless.

The destruction extended far beyond the Ohio valley to Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, New York, New Jersey, and Vermont. Fourteen states in all, and every major and minor river east of the Mississippi.

In the aftermath, flaws in America’s natural disaster response system were exposed, echoing today’s outrage over Katrina. People demanded change. Laws were passed, and dams were built. Teams of experts vowed to develop flood control techniques for the region and stop flooding for good. So far those efforts have succeeded.

It is estimated that in the Miami Valley alone, nearly 2,000 floods have been prevented, and the same methods have been used as a model for flood control nationwide and around the world.

©2013 Geoff Williams (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about Washed Away

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    3 out of 5 stars
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I love these historical narratives

This one was a little hard to follow on audio as the author jumps around a good deal and there are lots of characters but I did enjoy the story.

3 people found this helpful

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Lessons in flood control

Devastating but full of human interest stories, the “Great Flood of 1913” caused hundreds of casualties in Dayton Ohio and many other areas in the Midwest. Lessons can be learned for today. Dayton responded quickly. Soon after the flood Orville Wright created a hydroplane that lifted the spirits of recovering victims. One of the early Water Control Engineers, Arther Ernest Morgan was hired by Dayton to design 5 dams. Their foresight prevented at least 7 similar floods, including one in the 1960s when I was living there. Planning for disaster is essential today and we need to learn from the past.

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Took a moment to build, then it was quite a storm

At first I was confused on how the story was told, it jumped a bit. But once I got use to the speech pattern I loved it. Alot of interesting facts in history that is not covered alot. I would often wonder a question in line with the topic, and it would soon be answered. Showed the human emotion, in joy and sorrow.

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Interesting history poorly presented

Snarky, supercilious 21st century judgements undermined interesting history. Author seemed unexperienced in real natural disasters.

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Profile Image for ligsy
  • ligsy
  • 12-10-19

Groan....

Oh, dear! Such an interesting, historical event, ruined by uninspired writing and dreadful narration. Basically, this is an interminable list of people, names, addresses, family ties, and how they got wet, blown away or otherwise despatched, or occasionally miraculously survived.
Dull as...floodwater.