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As far as we’re concerned, there couldn’t be a better time to talk about Jon Krakauer’s latest book on the life of Pat Tillman, Where Men Win Glory. We hope you’re planning to attend a discussion group at one of the three local independent bookstores at 6 p.m. tonight. They are:
1. Black Cat Books at 720 Manitou Avenue in Manitou Springs, (719) 685-1589.
2. Poor Richard’s Bookstore at 320 N. Tejon St. in downtown Colorado Springs, (719) 578-0012.
3. Hooked on Books at 3918 Maizeland Rd. in eastern Colorado Springs (at Maizeland & Academy in the Maizeland Moors Shopping Center), (719) 596-1621.
We chose this book as the first selection for The Big Something Book Club because of the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and their local toll (physical and psychological) on the troops stationed here at Ft. Carson, many of whom came here through the military and will remain part of our community. Now that President Obama has called for a troop increase of 30,000, the question of what we’ve accomplished after 8 years and the cost to our nation and troops looms even larger.
For those of you who’ve now read the book, you know that it is a biography of former National Football League star Pat Tillman interleaved with a concise history of both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan during his service. The book raises both timeless and timely questions about war (in general) and these wars (specifically). It is also a book that examines themes familiar to readers of Krakauer’s book Into the Wild and Into Thin Air: the perils of naive heroism and idealistic adventures.
What follows are a list of questions that we invite participants to discuss here in the comments section and at the gatherings tonight:
1. Why do you think Jon Krakauer, a person who has written primarily about high-risk outdoor adventures, was drawn to Pat Tillman as a subject? And how well do you think he handled the biographical sections?
2. What do you make of Pat Tillman’s character? On the one hand, he seems to represent everything archetypal about American heroic masculinity: he plays football, marries his high school sweetheart, takes seemingly foolish physical risks and joins the military. On the other hand, Krakauer also presents him as bookish and extraordinarily principled to the point that he gave up his lucrative NFL career to make a grunt’s wages in the Army. Did Krakauer’s book change what you thought you knew about Tillman for better or worse?
3. Do you still think Pat Tillman was a hero? If so, in what regard?
4. Do you think Krakauer’s reporting on the wars was fair?
5. Did the book, ultimately, change the way you feel about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?
6. Did the book change the way you feel about the military or what it means to be a hero in American culture?
7. Did you like the book?
Please feel free to stray from these questions in any manner. They’re merely points for initiating discussion.
We would also like to invite you to nominate the next book for our next Big Something Book Club in February. Keep in mind that the book should, ideally, touch on themes or subjects pertinent to life in the Pikes Peak Region. There have been requests that the next book be paperback, which we’re happy to honor. Please leave your nominations in the comments and see you tonight!
If you want to know more about why we started The Big Something Book Club, please click HERE. If you have any other questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.