A Thirst in Babylon – by William Neil Martin

A Thirst in Babylon – by William Neil Martin

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A THIRST IN BABYLON is a fact-based novel relating the events leading up to the St. Francis Dam disaster in 1928, near Los Angeles. It follows the life of William Mulholland, chief engineer of the Los Angeles Water Company, who spent most of his fifty years with the company searching for new sources of water to accommodate the needs of a rapidly growing population in a city that he had grown to love. Several of those years were spent in the construction of an aqueduct that would traverse 240 miles of desert, and tunnel through a mountain range, to reach its final destination in Los Angeles. Historians would laud the construction of the aqueduct as the greatest achievement of its kind – second only to the building of the Panama Canal.

The St. Francis was not the first dam Mulholland constructed in the development of reservoirs in the Los Angeles area, but it would be the last. The dam was constructed to contain water to be used in the event of a drought. There would be enough water to accommodate the needs of Los Angeles throughout the dry period.

When full, the St. Francis Dam would hold back 12 billion gallons of water. Sadly, two years after the structure was completed, at a time of night when most of the unsuspecting community was sleeping, the dam collapsed, unleashing a gigantic flood of water, a hundred feet high, that would travel fifty miles, the Pacific Ocean. It is also the story of those who courageously responded to the disaster, taking part in the rescue and recovery of the flood victims. Many of their stories are related in this account of the disaster. The story describes the actions of the unsung heroes – those who tended to the bodies of those who did not survive the tragedy.

The St. Francis Dam collapse has been recognized as the greatest man-made disaster in California history. At least four hundred known people were killed in the flood, though many victims are still missing.

Read a free excerpt RIGHT HERE.

About the Author

Following a thirty-year career with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, William Neil Martin and his wife, Marie, make their home in Blue Springs, Missouri. Since retiring, Mr. Martin embraced another of his interests: writing. He has subsequently written five books: two non-fiction and three fiction.


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