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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Book Discussion Questions for The Secret Rescue

On Monday, my group met to discuss The Secret Rescue: An Untold Story of American Nurses and Medics Behind Nazi Lines by Cate Lineberry. I am working on the book discussion report post, but I wanted to let people know that I could not locate prepared questions for this book.

So, I created my own questions, but I wanted to get them up in a separate post so that they will be picked up by search engines more easily than if I embedded them in the post on the discussion itself.

They are posted below. Feel free to use them, but please cite RA for All and this permalink if you do.

The Secret Rescue: An Untold Story of American Nurses and Medics Behind Nazi Lines by Cate Lineberry

(Questions by Becky Spratford with some guidance from LitLovers)

  1. We have read many books about WWII and others about “survival.” How does The Secret Rescue compare to those books? Is it a WWII book or a survival book? If you had to describe this book to someone, which subject heading would you pick out as the primary one for this story?

  1. Albania in 1943-44 was an unknown political and cultural landscape to the Allies. What did you learn about this country, its customs, politics, and traditions by reading this book? What does Lineberry think about the Albanian people themselves and/or our interaction with them? How does she feel about the Partisans and the BK, and how do her feelings influence how she tells the story? Do you feel like you know anything about Albania today? Does this book help you understand that region of the world better?

  1. Lineberry employed a comprehensive research strategy to write this book using government documents, personal recollections of those involved, interviews of survivors and their family members, trips overseas, etc…  Her research choices influence the style in which she chooses to tell the story of these events. Did you enjoy reading this as a narrative story or did you enjoy the learning aspects more?

  1. How did you experience this story? Were you engaged immediately, or did it take you a while to “get into it.” Compare Linberry’s style with Candice Millard who we have read twice. Both teach us about history we did not know, but write with different styles.

  1. How did you feel while reading this story? Were you able to experience the parties’ struggle and feel their hunger, pain discomfort, despair, etc..  Were you able to experience the struggle of those who helped them-- the partisans, the British, the OSS officers? Was Lineberry more successful at articulating some points of view and feelings more than others?

  1. What did you know about medics and Army nurses before this? What did you learn about how their mixed sex squadron functioned? How did the officers, nurses, and enlisted men interact? Were you surprised to find female nurses on front lines at this time? Were you surprised at how strictly they kept rank throughout their ordeal?

  1. What does Lineberry want us to take away from this story? Is she doing more than simply asking us to learn about “lost” history?

  1. Let’s talk “characters.” There are many people here-- the 30 stranded service people plus the dozens who helped them.  Were their any who you would like to discuss [for better or worse]? Or, were there so many people here that you felt you did not have the time to get to know anyone well enough?

  1. Were you surprised that all 30 made it out alive? Why do you think that is? But not everyone involved survived the ordeal? Who made the biggest sacrifice so that these 30 could make it home alive?

  1. Did you feel like you now have the “whole story?” Did this book make you question how much we truly know about recent history? Current conflicts and situation?

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