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Waggoners Gap Reading Group Guide

Waggoners Gap Reading Group Guide

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Published by OpenRoadMedia
This reading group guide includes 10 questions for discussion, an interview with the author, Tony Peluso, and an excerpt of Waggoners Gap.
This reading group guide includes 10 questions for discussion, an interview with the author, Tony Peluso, and an excerpt of Waggoners Gap.

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Published by: OpenRoadMedia on Sep 12, 2013
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09/29/2013

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PART ONE
1.
 WAGGONERS GAP READING GROUP GUIDE
 
 
 WAGGONERS GAP READING GROUP GUIDE
Table of Contents
Overview Discussion Questions Author Q&A Excerpt
Overview of 
Waggoners Gap
 
 Waggoners Gap, a spiritual place with unique natural beauty and breathtaking vistas, overlooks the Cumberland Valley near Carlisle, Pennsylvania. It is also apivotal locale in the sweeping story of two disparate families fighting for survivaland success in the dark decades surrounding World War II.The Genero clan is at the heart of the story. The lives of Marta, Phillip, and theirson and daughter, are inevitably affected by a richer and more influential family,the Monarchs, who control industry and employment for most of the peopleliving in the shadow of Waggoners Gap. The generational confluence of theseplayers begins during World War I, reaches through the Great Depression, andculminates in World War II when the Genero children enlist to support the wareffort. Meanwhile, the lecherous younger Monarch takes over his family’s booming textile business and secretly begins to siphon off profits whilemistreating his employees, including the Generos.The saga winds from Waggoners Gap to army training bases, ships at sea, battlefields in Europe and the Pacific, and back again. These truly colorfulcharacters develop and influence each other over the decades. Through it all, inspite of deadly hardships overseas and trouble on the home front, WaggonersGap draws the players together and repels them like a spinning magnet.
Questions for Discussion
1. In
Waggoners Gap
, author Tony Peluso weaves together two narratives: onefollowing the Genero family timeline and another offering a fictionalized look atevents in the military history of World War II. What effect did moving back andforth between the storylines have on your experience of reading the book? Were you more drawn to one storyline than the other?2. What was your overall reaction to
Waggoners Gap
? What did you like and, if anything, not like about the novel?
 
 
3. In the Prologue (which is based on actual events), when Colonel Kincaid coldly told Anne, “There’s not going to be a next time.” were you prepared for whathappened next? If so, what alerted you to this course of events and, if not, what were you expecting?4. Readers learn that Marta was raised Amish and chose to leave that world behind after her
 Rumspringa
in which coming of age Amish youth break fromtheir culture and live among the English for two years to determine, in part, thestrength of their faith. Had you heard of the
 Rumspringa
before reading
Waggoners Gap
? What are your thoughts on this tradition? Would it surprise you to learn the Amish retention rate is very strong with 80-90% returning to thefaith at age 18?5. While at Penn State, Gin (young Phil) and his friends engage in a conversationabout the size and strength of the US military and its involvement in the looming war. His friend Paul notes, “We don’t have the manpower in the Army, the Navy can’t do the job and there’s a law that makes it illegal to get involved.” Paul wasreferring to the Neutrality Act intended to prevent the US from getting involvedin European and Asian political entanglements. Pat insisted the Neutrality Act would simply prevent the US from doing anything “until it was too late”. Later,Gin mused “that the isolationist preferences of his countrymen amounted to adangerous luxury in the modern world.” Who do you most agree with and why?6. Some would argue that Marta is the strongest character in the novel. Do youagree? Do you see her as manipulative? Do you think she sold her soul to thedevil when she agreed to stay on at Monarch Industries?7. Phillip asks his son to promise that he’ll focus on his duties when in the field.He tells him, “You can’t afford to be distracted. Combat is primitive. It’s life ordeath. You must be mentally prepared to do whatever you have to do to comehome.” Do you think you have the necessary focus? What makes you think so, orthink not?8. Gin’s sister Kari played an important role in the story. Were you surprised when you read she was reported to be dead?9. In the epilogue, we meet a lone male golden eagle flying high in the sky overthe ridgeline at Waggoners Gap on Thanksgiving Day. Some of the farmers saw this event as a powerful omen, fortelling good fortune. Would you agree—and why?10. There were a number of strong voices in
Waggoners Gap
—did you have afavorite character. And if so, whom?

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