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Floodpath : The Deadliest Man-Made Disaster of 20th-Century America and the Making of Modern Los Angeles
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Just before midnight on March 12, 1928, the St. Francis Dam, a twelve-story-high concrete structure just fifty miles north of Los Angeles, suddenly collapsed, releasing a devastating flood that roared fifty-three miles to the Pacific Ocean, destroying everything in its path. What caused this unexpected catastrophe, and why are the facts largely missing from history books?
With research gathered over more than two decades, award-winning writer and filmmaker Jon Wilkman revisits the deluge that claimed nearly five hundred lives. A key figure is William Mulholland, the self-taught engineer who created an unprecedented water system, allowing Los Angeles to become America's second-largest city. Mulholland was also responsible for the design and construction of the St. Francis Dam--which tragically would prove vulnerable to the shifting geology of the site.
Driven by eyewitness accounts and combining urban history, technological detective story, and life-and-death drama,Floodpath grippingly reanimates the reality behind noir fictions like the classic filmChinatown.With Americans' penchant for forgetting the past, surrounded by a neglected and failing infrastructure, the tragedy of the St. Francis Dam has never been more relevant.