In His Stead (Sanders)

Discussion Questions
1. Did you learn something you didn’t know before? Were you aware of America’s history in forming our army? What do you think about conscription, the militia (now the National Guard), substitution, and bounty and bonus money?

2. How would you describe Thomas Lane—his personality traits, motivations, and inner qualities? Can you think of someone you know that is like Thomas Lane? Perhaps one of your own parents?

3. Did you think that Tom’s actions were justified, realistic? Do you admire or disapprove of them? What do you think of Tom and his wife Christine’s relationship with each other and their children?

4. Of the characters you met in the novel, whom would you invite for dinner, meatloaf Thursday? What would you like to talk to him/her about?

5. What main ideas—themes—does the author explore? Is the title a clue to the novel’s theme? Do you think there is moral justification for Tom’s actions? What makes Donnie refuse to go along with the exchange? Why does Donnie change his mind? How is Donnie altered through the novel if at all?

6. What passages strike you as insightful, even profound? Where there comments or dialogue that you especially enjoyed, found humorous, or that encapsulated the characters or theme?

7. If you could ask the author a question, what would you ask?

8. The plot of In His Stead brought up the issue of an all volunteer military. What are your thoughts about military service—the draft vs. volunteers? If we had the draft today how would war be different?

9. Both men and women now serve equally in the military. Could you imagine the main character as a mother, one of our many female warriors, instead of the father?  What would be different?

10. The author is passionate about protecting all children from the ravages of war. Is there something one person can do to bring peace during conflict like the one in Afghanistan?
(Questions issued by publisher.)

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