Johnstown Flood Worksheet and Discussion Preparation.

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To be able to answer the questions below and participate in class discussion, you should read at least Chapters I – V and IX.

1.Consider the following quote from and of the introduction. As you read the text, reflect on the lessons that the author thinks should be learned from the story of the flood. Identify two lessons and explain thoroughly what they are. Provide evidence from the text and identify what alternative course the author believes should have been taken. You should also provide your own interpretation of what should have been learned, whether it is the same as or different from that of the author.

“And, yes, it was then, when writing the final pages that the theme became quite clear to me—that it is extremely dangerous, very possibly even disastrous, to assume that because people are in positions of responsibility, they are therefore behaving responsibly.

As one comes to understand what happened, all that was ignored by so many before the dam at South Fork broke, one also comes to understand that the whole calamity and its horrific toll in human life need never have happened.

Today, the lessons to be learned from the Johnstown Flood are more relevant than ever. Indifference to or ignorance of the realities of nature, in combination with inexcusable irresponsibility, not only continue but on even larger scales, as do the inevitable consequences we are left to face.

One of the most important of all the many lessons to be learned from history is to learn from our mistakes.”

2.Think back over our coursework this semester and identify a place where you believe an important lesson should be learned from history. Be as specific as you can because broad and vague answers are difficult to discuss. You should explain the nature of the problem, the way it was dealt with at the time, whether there was a better solution or whether the situation has now changed and calls for a different solution, and whether you think people have learned from the mistake.

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