I have received a couple requests for questions that folks can use for their book clubs so, here you go:
Book Club Discussion Questions for A Presidents Story
1. Did the format of the book work? Was it easier to follow historical events in this historical novel than in, for example, a high school or college text book? Was it difficult to sort out fact from fiction?
2. What surprised you most in the book? Were there historical events of which you were previously unaware? If so, does your knowledge of those events change your current view of history, politics, people or the United States as a country?
3. Which President was your favorite and why? Which was your least favorite and why? Which President would you like to learn more about?
4. Was the advent of political parties a positive development for the United States or not?
5. In Part III, Chapter 2 in the section from October 1842, the history of the abolitionist movement is briefly described. Would you have been an abolitionist and, if so, would you have been a “gradualist” or a “radical”? Why?
6. Given the attitudes of most of Lincoln’s predecessors toward the institution of slavery, was the Civil War inevitable?
7. Several of the Presidents depicted in A Presidents Story were military war heroes. Why do you think early America was prone to electing military officers as President?
8. Several of the Presidents’ wives (e.g., Abigail Adams, Dolly Madison, Sarah Polk, Abigail Fillmore) influenced the views of their husbands. How do you think early America would have differed if women had the same ability to vote and participate in the political process that they do today?
9. Which of the Presidents between 1800 and 1860 made the biggest impact?
10. What was your reaction to de Tocqueville’s observations that Lincoln reads in Part IV, Chapter 1?