Book Club Questions

  1. Each of the main characters in Confederate Gold is      taking refuge in reenacting. Is it a blessing or an      impediment for each of them? Do you find Civil War      reenacting silly and offensive or an enriching hobby      that educates others and pays tribute to our      ancestors?

 2. There is a complicated and evolving relationship      between the male characters. Which men were your      favorites and why? How does each of the men or boys      take a leadership role at different times and in          different ways?

 3. Which women characters were your favorites and why?
     How did the women change as the story progressed?
     How do the women and men affect and change each
     other? Is the novel a love story as well as a thriller?

 4. There are many side characters in the novel. Which one      was your favorite and why: Sy Meyer, Hiram George,      Julius Bohannon, Aunt April, or someone else? How did      each of these characters contribute to the plot?

 5. The two extremist groups are drawn large in the book
     but represent factions in our present-day society,      people who feel alienated, used up, and forgotten by      our economic system. Do you feel these      characterizations are accurate? Do you know anyone      who feels outraged at our society or economic system?

 6. Did you see the portrayal of the Greek mobsters as      steeped in stereotypes? Do you think there is      organized crime in the South?

 7. Racial tensions are portrayed in the novel both in an      extreme manner of the Compatriots and Gabrielites      willing to start race wars and in the nuanced playful      banter of Powhatan. Do you see racial tensions in your      own life? If so, do you feel they are the result of the      legacy of slavery? Will there always be racism and      classism?

 8. The novel takes many twists and turns. Did you find      the plot in the realm of possibility? Does the plot carry      the characters through Richmond and its history in a      plausible manner?

 9. Civil War history is woven throughout the story. Was      this a good way to bring the history to life or a      distraction from the action? Do you agree or disagree      with the way the author presented and analyzed the      historical facts?

10. The setting of the novel is Richmond, Virginia. The      author often refers to Richmond as the main character      of the book. Did you feel the setting was effectively      created? Did reading the book make you want to visit      Richmond? Which historic sites and locations would      you like to visit?

11. Charles Dickens thought Richmond was a vile place in       1842 because slavery was a sanctioned trade. Is there       anything humans do today that might be considered       vile in the course of history? How might someone       visiting from another culture describe your community?

12. Bet Van Lew was a hero to some and a traitor to       others. How does time affect people’s opinions of       historical figures? Who is respected or disrespected       today who may be viewed later in a different way?

13. The Civil War generals fought with Napoleonic tactics.       How has war changed over the last 150 years? What       do you think the author thinks about war? Is this an       antiwar novel?

14. How do you feel about preserving Civil War battlefield
     land? Should we develop the land as a way to put the
     war behind us, or should we save it as a way to jog our
     national memory of the United States’s defining event?      Is saving Civil War battlefield land equivalent
     to saving Civil War monuments?

15. At the end of the book, Raleigh says, “It’s never going      to be over.” Do you believe that is true? Will the Civil      War continue to be relevant to our lives and our      society?