Question

David McCullough has said that in his writing he tries to make history “as interesting and human as it really was.” Do you think he succeeds in doing so in the selection from The Johnstown Flood? Explain, giving examples from the narrative to support your opinion.

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From this selection, one can see that David Mc Cullough does manage in making history more interesting and humane, and in that sense real. Namely, the author chooses to write from the perspectives of characters, thus enabling the readers to identify with them and see the situation from their experience. He also gives detailed descriptions of the key events. This form of writing makes the events more real than just writing when they happened. For example, the indecisiveness of James Quinn shows how difficult his current position is. If the danger of flooding was not so great, exposing his sick child could have fatal consequences. Another example can be a description of branches falling, houses cracking, dead animals floating. There is a dead horse which almost falls over Gertrude and kills her.

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