Thank You for Your Service (Finkel)

Discussion Questions
Use our LitLovers Book Club Resources; they can help with discussions for any book:

How to Discuss a Book (helpful discussion tips)
Generic Discussion Questions—Fiction and Nonfiction
Read-Think-Talk (a guided reading chart)

Also, consider these LitLovers talking points to get a discussion started for Thank You for Your Service:

1. What kind of hope do these soldiers have to develop a reasonably "normal" life given their lingering physical and psychological wounds?

2. What was the emotional impact this book had on you? What were your primary and secondary responses: sadness, anger, frustration, a sense of unfairness, guilt? Anything else?

3. Talk about the individual soldiers whose stories most struck you. Adam Schumann, for example: how did he change over the course of the war? What was his attitude going in and, after three combat tours, coming back about? Or Tausolo Aieti—what hope does he have in life?

4. What do we owe the men and women who return from the wars? In what way is society living up to its obligations...and in what way is it failing to do so?

5. What could be done better to help these veterans readjust to civilian life?

6. Are you related to any veterans? Are you yourself a veteran? How does Finkel's book resonate with your experiences?

7. Nic DeNinno continues to be haunted by the memory of breaking into a house, throwing a man downstairs, hearing a woman scream and seeing a baby covered with shards of glass—only to be teold later by his lieutenant that they'd "hit the wrong house." Nic feels, he says, "like a monster." Should he feel responsible for that mistake or others like it? What would you say to him if you were called upon to counsel him?

8. Talk about the urge many veterans have to commit suicide? What would you say to someone to dissuade him or her from taking his own life?

9. Are the two current wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan, different from the other wars this country has fought? Why does it seem that so many veterans are returning  emotionally or mentally shattered from these confrontations? Or are we simply more aware this time round of the damage that combat can do to the psyche?

10. What is Peter Chiarelli, vice chief of staff, told about the state of brain/neuroscience when it comes to helping victims of PSTD? How well does the underlying ethos of the military, its CAN DO! orientation, cope with the slow, even passive, pace of mental health recovery?

11. What do you predict for Adam and Saskia Schumann?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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