Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Febuary Book Discussion: Killing Lincoln

As promised, here is my post about 38th Ave. Diva Readers book meeting this past Monday.
We discussed, Killing Lincoln by Bill O'Reilly. My post about the book is a few posts down.  We had Ellie, to host our book club. She was a history teacher, and has a hobby collecting dolls.
For the occassion of Lincoln's b-day, and reading Killing Lincoln, she displayed patriotic dolls.

I learned some new things while we discussed the book. For example, where the Mason-Dixon line was. I did not realize one street mixed the north and the south together. I always thought it divided the states not dividing the same area. Now, the saying brother against brother does make sense.

Can you imagine, a person down the street that you were friends with, now is your enemy, or even a spy. We discussed the kidnapping vs. the assassination. Why Booth went South instead of Canada after he shot Pres. Lincoln.  Booth's surprise of the south's response. Did he do it for fame? or was he a true south sympathizer? Lincoln's body guards, why did he not have any? If he knew there were attempts on his life? Why did he's wife not force the issue? She was mentally unstable. Those and more questions came out of the discussion.

We went on talking about the ages of the conspirators, most of them young in their 20's. Of course, we as women, had to comment on the pictures of them, who was homely, and who was cute, would you go out with him? What a dog!!

For the first time, in awhile, I felt the book club stayed on track and we did discuss the book. I have not been very happy lately with the book club.  So, to my surprise it was a good one. It stayed on track.

Our book club has set up books to discuss for the next three months. Our book club tried to set up for a year. It just doesn't work well.   This is our book list for the next few months up till May.
Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout, Faith by Jennifer Haigh( I suggested this one), and Death Comes To Pemberely by PD James.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting your group's discussion of 'Killing Lincoln'. I was looking for discussion questions for our book club and could not find any, this really helped.

Anonymous said...

Killing Lincoln Discussion Questions

1. Name one or two things you found out through reading this book that you didn’t know before.

2. What character(s) surprised you? Why?

3. What character(s) impressed you? Why?

4. What character(s) aggravated you? Why?

5. Do you feel that hunting Booth was worth the 87 men that were killed in the Maryland swamps?

6. Do you agree with the sentence of hanging the conspirators who actually didn’t do much? What about the imprisonment of suspected conspirators who were later released because nothing was proven against them?

7. What do you think might have happened differently if the assassination had happened today? Would it have been easier or harder to catch Booth?

8. Discuss the male-female relationships in the book, particularly the following:
a) Lincoln and his wife
b) Grant and his wife Julia
c) Booth and Lucy Hale

9. Some of the details included in Killing Lincoln have proven to be false (Oval Office didn’t exist yet, JWB didn’t make the peephole into the box, etc.). Does this discredit the entire book for you? Why or why not?

10. Discuss the diary-like presentation of the book. Did it help or hinder the reader?

11. Discuss the style of writing. Did you find it scholarly? dumbed-down? easy to follow? too vernacular?

12. Compare what you know of Lincoln’s assassination with what you know of Kennedy’s assassination.

14. Imagine presenting this book as a work of fiction. What would you have added or changed? Do you think an author could have come up with the flow of the events that actually happened?

15. Compare this book to another nonfiction history book you have read recently (for me, that would be A Land As God Made It by James Horn, a book about Jamestown colony).
a) How are they alike and
b) Which one was more informative?
c) Which one was more scholarly?
d) Which one was easier to read?
e) Which one will you more easily remember?

Bookwoman said...

I second Anonymous' thanks. I am leading a discussion of this book at my book discussion club this month and have had difficulty finding discussion questions. You would think that with O'Reilly being a former teacher, he would have thought to include discussion questions in the back of his book as many authors do these days.