SUPERSTORM by Kathryn Miles

Discussion Questions for book clubs:

1. Have you ever been affected by a natural disaster? What was that experience like?

2. Superstorm is a work of nonfiction, but it is written like a literary thriller. Did the style succeed in building tension for you as a reader? Why or not?

3. A lot of people – including trained meteorologists – were surprised by and even skeptical of Sandy as the storm first developed. Why?

4. Did the limitations of such major weather organizations as NOAA or the National Weather Service surprise you? Why or why not? How reliable is our weather forecasting?

5. Captain Walbridge of the Bounty chose to take his ship and crew into the storm. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg initially told residents of his city there was no need to evacuate. Some people have condemned both men for their decisions. Do you agree? Why or why not?

6. In America, most residents in the path of the storm chose to disregard evacuation orders. Why do you think they did this? What would you do under similar circumstances?

7. Compare and contrast the way that different countries responded to the storm. What, if anything, does that tell us about their culture? Their relationship with nature?

8. In a recent New York Times editorial, Scientist Orrin Pilkey says that we should "should strongly discourage the reconstruction of destroyed or badly damaged beachfront homes" after a hurricane. Do you agree? Why or why not?

9. Much of Superstorm is an investigation into how different people confront risk. Discuss the similarities and differences between the people who risked their lives in the storm. What do you make of the Hurricane Hunters and the Coast Guard rescuers? What about the people who lost their lives in New York and New Jersey? Are some actions heroic? Fool hearty? Both?

10. What lessons were learned from the storm? Will they be enough to prevent a disaster like this from occurring again?

Copyright 2014, Benjamin Keller, Dubious Honor Productions
SUPERSTORM by Kathryn Miles