Welcome, Book Club Members, Library Groups, and Classes You might find my blog especially interesting, since it tracks interesting research findings. The "Germans in America" article is good background, too. Please feel free to contact me about an in-person or virtual visit with your group.
Discussion Questions 1. Niklas is conflicted about leaving his country, especially as a military man. Are you a patriotic person? How does your patriotism make you feel about the idea of leaving your country? 2. Katrina is worried about what her family will miss by emigrating. Would you have similar concerns if you were emigrating? What would you miss most? What would your children miss? 3. Consider immigrants coming today from other countries. How do you imagine they feel about their patriotism? How do they evaluate the pros and cons to themselves or their children? 4. Niklas war experiences' give him PTSD. Do you think PTSD changed over the centuries? Or is PTSD basically the same for victims of trauma everywhere/at every time? 5. What natural advantages did Europeans have that people in the Americas did not? 6. Have you ever been on a sailboat? Would you like to be? Would you like to be a tall ship rigger? 7. The Kästners see one of the few early modern police forces in Gibraltar, instituted by Englishman Robert Peel. Imagine what was in the Germanies and everywhere else -- the police under direct orders from a monarch. What's wrong with letting the king call the shots? 8. A past filled with wars makes various Europeans suspicious of each other. How did they get past these old hatreds? Where do you see similar hatreds still influencing people today? 9. Niklas has real trouble imagining his sons as capable people. What evidence do you see in the book that they are more capable than he thinks? 10. Katrina is unhappy when Amalie 'becomes a woman.' Does she have good reason to worry? 11. 1836 hints that the future is tragic for the little town of Linnville and for the De Leon family. What happened to them afterwards?