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Monday 10-8

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1. What was Johnstown like before the flood - how does David McCullough descirbe its people and surroundings? Consider, also, what the book reveals about class and ethnic divisions. 


2. McCullough insists that the Johnstown flood was not a natural disaster. Is he right? Where  does McCollough lays the blame? The dam was repaired after its purchase in 1879 - why were those repairs not sufficient? Should individuals have been held accountable?


3. Could something of the magnitude of the Johnstown flood happen today? Why or why not? Or would you say that we have, in fact, experienced similar kinds of man-made disasters in recent years?


4. Is McCullough able - through his use of only language and imagery - to create a vivid picture of what the wall of water would have looked like? Overall, are McCullough's descriptive powers as a writer up to the task?


5. How did the townspeople cope after the flood? Talk about the administrative, governmental measure they undertook the day after the deluge. Were you impressed by their level-headedness or ingenuity?


6. McCullough presents us with a portrait of one of america's most beloved heroines, Clara Barton. Talk about Barton and her work in Johnstown.


7. Talk about some of the individuals McCullough writes about - those who acted bravely and those who acted foolishly. Who most impressed you...and who least impressed you?


8. After reading The Johnstown Flood, what have you learned about the flood and/or the era? What surprised you...or struck you as particularity interesting...or made the greatest impression on you?


9. Have you read other works by David McCullough? If so, how does this one compare?


10. Overall, how would you discribe The Johnstown Flood - in terms o fclarity of writing, story-telling power, ability to sustain your interest, and exposition of historical event and people?