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Come into the Water: A Survivor's Story
Merlyn Janet Magner. Don Barnett (afterword).
Print-version Price: $18.95

eBook Price: $9.95
Formats: epub, mobi

180 pages
6 x 9 inches
24 b&w photographs
ISBN: 9780984504114

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Available in ebook formats

“At approximately 10:25 P.M., I drowned.
Heavy rain and flooding burst through and filled the canyon walls surrounding my family home. My mother, my father, and my brother would drown that night, too. I was swept away and landed on a rooftop, the only survivor.
This is my story.”
—from page 1

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A Wordle for Come into the Water

Rapid City, South Dakota, June 9, 1972 . . . 238 people died, 5 are still missing.

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In the midst of one of the worst floods in the history of the United States, one young woman clung to the roof of a house, desperately holding on to the vestiges of her life. At the same time, the massive flood surging down from the Black Hills and through the city swept away everything and everybody she loved.

Somehow, Merlyn Magner survived that horrific night, but she lost her brother, mother, and father to the rampaging water. Questions coursed through her mind then and for much of the rest of her life: Why did this happen? Why did my family die? Why did I survive? What does it all mean? Rescued from that rooftop, Merlyn set out to find the answers to these questions. She searched for comprehension, she searched for a sense of place, she searched for meaning, she searched . . .

Her search took her from the Black Hills on a journey around the United States and then the world, traversing the globe to escape the memories and the pain, and always looking for answers. Her story is one of great tragedy and yet, equally, of great joy and reward. It is a poignant, spiritual journey, a fractured fairy tale, which has at its core the search for her very own grail, one that will help her make sense of the why, how, and what of that horrendous night.

Merlyn recently completed a book tour in South Dakota. While in-state, various media outlets interviewed her. Below, find links to television, radio, and newspaper coverage of Merlyn and her book.

KOTA TV feature story

KELO-TV feature story

Black Hills Fox story

KDLT TV story

KNBN TV story

SDPB Radio, Dakota Midday with Paul Guggenheimer

Capital Journal article

The Rapid City Journal has a good feature story about Merlyn's book.

Sioux Falls Argus Leader

Check out some readers' reviews from LibraryThing.com

"Come Into The Water: A Survivor's Story, by Merlyn Janet Magner, is an absolutely extraordinary book. Not only is it a story of the devastating flood of 1972 in South Dakota, but of the profound and devastating effects the flood had on Merlyn’s whole life. This book is about disaster, grief, introspection, and gradual rejuvenation. Somehow the author managed to write of the tragedy and of her suffering in such an astoundingly beautiful fashion that I found myself wanting to reread it as soon as I finished the last page."—LibraryThing.com reviewer

“Merlyn Magner’s book is a fascinating personal quest for the inner life of a woman traumatized and awakened by the destructive Rapid City flood of 1972. The author’s story is one few people could write. It is a self-searching jewel.”—Senator George McGovern

“This story is a powerful account of the Rapid City flood and how Merlyn Magner’s life has been profoundly affected by the catastrophe. She gives colorful descriptions of making new friends and traveling the world—yet the intense impact of the flood never recedes.”—Jay Trobec, Chief Meteorologist, KELO-TV

"Merlyn Magner sweeps you into her world, a world in which she has searched for meaning for the past thirty years, and a world in which her incredible prose holds you, bidden to turn every last page, hoping to help her understand her twisted, fantastic life. Come into the Water is powerful, poignant, and precious from the first sentence to the last."—Bernie Hunhoff, South Dakota Magazine

"A beautiful and heartbreaking story"—LibraryThing.com

"Well-written and full of beautiful thought"—LibraryThing.com

Read a review of this book in the Bismarck Tribune.

Keloland TV has a special section on its website about the 1972 Rapid City flood.

Read an excerpt

Follow Merlyn on Facebook!

Listen to an interview with author Merlyn Magner.

Suggested listening to accompany Merlyn's book!
Click on the links to visit the iTunes page for that album

Louis Armstrong, The Complete RCA Victor Recordings
The Beatles, Abbey Road, The Beatles (The White Album), Rubber Soul
Jackson Browne, The Pretender
Lenny Bruce, The Carnegie Hall Concert
George Carlin, Indecent Exposure: Some of the Best of George Carlin
Judy Collins, In My Life, Who Knows Where the Time Goes
Bobby Darin, The Best of Bobby Darin
The Doors, The Doors, Strange Days
Electric Prunes, The Electric Prunes, Underground
Judy Garland, Over the Rainbow
Peggy Lee, Let's Love
Henry Mancini, Breakfast at Tiffany's
Joni Mitchell, Clouds, Ladies of the Canyon, Miles of Aisles
Pablo Cruise, Worlds Away
Richard Pryor, Richard Pyror's Greatest Hits
Bobby Rydell, The Complete Bobby Rydell on Capitol
Pheobe Snow, Phoebe Snow
Bobby Vinton, 20 All-Time Greatest Hits
Neil Young, Long May You Run, Harvest

Associated Files
  • Open Interview_with_Merlyn_Magner_022411.wma Interview_with_Merlyn_Magner_022411.wma
  • Open Come_into_the_Water_excerpt.pdf Come_into_the_Water_excerpt.pdf - Read a short excerpt from this book
  • Open Book tour podcast with Merlyn Magner 070511.wma Book tour podcast with Merlyn Magner 070511.wma - Listen to Merlyn chat about her successful book tour.