The Path Between the Seas Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

David McCullough
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Lieutenant Lucien Napoleon Bonaparte Wyse sails back to New York in early 1879 to buy the Panama Railroad Company, but its president is the major stockholder with the leverage to demand what price?

2. Due to continuing slides, the "total cube" of the cut steadily increases, until it appears necessary for the top of the cut to be how far wide to achieve a mathematically stable 1:4 ratio?

3. In which book does the author urge no action be taken prior to experts first comparing the pros and cons of all potential routes in connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans?

4. Gustave Eiffel eventually is able to clear his name, but what does he do afterward?

5. Ferdinand de Lesseps is from a family entrenched in the diplomatic services, which he enters at age 19, and he becomes interested in construction of canals when?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is the situation like in Panama when Phillippe Banau-Varilla is appointed acting director of the French project?

2. As hard as they work, what are some of the problems the French engineers encounter?

3. What is notable about the date of October 20, 1893?

4. In mid-November 1887, what sort of new locks does Ferdinand de Lesseps state Alexandre Gustava Eiffel will be designing and building?

5. What is the subtitle for Chapter 3, "Consensus of One," a reference to?

6. Why is it that Ferdinand de Lesseps takes on doing the Suez Canal?

7. What are the reasons Admiral Ammen opposes the official U.S. plan?

8. Why is it yellow fever causes instant panic in comparison to other tropical diseases?

9. How can the early years of the Companie Universele be described?

10. As the Morgan Committee rejects the recommendations of the Walker Commission, what are the rumors that are circulating around Washington?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The last chief engineer is George Washington Goethals. He is a model officer of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Does he operate under a military regime approach? Does he use the methods of either John Stevens or John Wallace? What are some of the techniques he utilized to achieve success with the project itself? What approaches did he take for success with those on his payroll?

Essay Topic 2

The author notes that, despite Theodore Roosevelt's opinion to the contrary, he comes out having played a minor part in Panama's revolution. Is there any evidence of collusion or master strategy in the White House? How much knowledge does the President have as the plot unfolds? Is the President correct in his view that the Colombian position regarding the treaty is nothing but a "holdup"? Could an amicable solution have been achieved in a reasonable time period? What of the position that Roosevelt's "most important action" ensures Colombia will be financially destroyed, being stripped of what is most valuable to it?

Essay Topic 3

"The Hero," subtitle for Chapter 2, is a reference to the sincere respect that surrounded Ferdinand de Lesseps subsequent to his success with the Suez Canal. He was in his 60s then, and could easily have retired on his tremendous success. Yet in 1875, now about 70 years old, he expresses public interest in an interoceanic canal in Central America, and joins with the Turr Syndicate. Is de Lesseps a willing confederate? Is he the guiding light? Is he merely an innocent dupe of the Turr Syndicate leaders? The "Great Engineer" may not have been that, during his life he was many things, but certainly no fool. Why needlessly risk his reputation?

(see the answer keys)

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