READING GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS FOR HOMER HICKAM'S BOOKS:
SUGGESTED READING GROUP DISCUSSION IDEAS
- The Dinosaur Hunter
- My Dream of Stars
- Red Helmet
- The Far Reaches
- The Ambassador's Son
- The Keeper's Son
- Sky of Stone
- The Coalwood Way
- The Coalwood Triology
- Rocket Boys
- Torpedo Junction
- Teacher's Guide to Rocket Boys/October Sky
- Soon - "We Are Not Afraid" Discussion Questions
From Homer Hickam: A writer's first published book is always going to be one of his favorites and certainly Torpedo Junction falls into that category for me.
Fifteen years of research was required to get it right and for a long while I guess it's fair to say I was obsessed with the story.
Here are a few ideas for your group to chew on:
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Note: This very real back-story is the basis for my novel The Keeper's Son. I hope you will enjoy reading this book also!
- Why do you think the United States was so unprepared to fight the U-boats? Was there something about the personalities of the U-boat commanders that made them so successful?
- What do you think of the author's idea to use the Dione as his touchstone, to always come back to that little cutter? (Note: I made that decision early into the writing and research. The Dione kept turning up in nearly every after-action report around Cape Hatteras. Gradually, it dawned on me that Captain Alger and her crew were the unsung heroes of the battle).
- Do you see a connection between the sinking of the Jacob Jones and the subsequent sinking of the U-85? Why do you think Captain Howe reacted as he did after the U-85 had been sunk?
- Kaleun Rathke of the U-352 did not seem to be cut from the same cloth as the other U-boat commanders. Was he unlucky or was he inept? Did he have a right to be angry after the Icarus sank him and shot up his crew?
- Why do you think Captain Alger and his crew stayed out on that sea of death?
- What do you think actually defeated the U-boats? Was it the bravery of the Americans or was it the more prosaic convoys and aircraft patrols? Or was it something inherently wrong with the German strategy?
Homer Hickam is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Rocket Boys which was made into the acclaimed movie, October Sky.
He is also the author of the bestselling The Keeper's Son and many other books including The Coalwood Way and Sky of Stone.
He and his wife and cats share their time between homes in Huntsville, Alabama, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.