Framingham State University’s class of 2016 is reading Pulitzer Prize-winner David Finkel’s The Good Soldiers for the Common Reading program this year! As the office of First-Year Programs helped incoming students prepare for their first semester at Framingham State, they asked first-years to pick up a copy of the book and read it before attending Black & Gold Beginnings, the university’s pre-semester orientation program.
During orientation, faculty and administrators from different disciplines lead small group discussions, connecting The Good Soldiers to his or her area of expertise. This interdisciplinary approach allowed each student to choose a session that reflected their own academic interests, and to get a sense of the courses they might take in a particular field of study. For example, Dr. Daisy Ball, Assistant Professor of Sociology, lead a discussion on depictions of war in popular culture. She asked attendees to:
Come to this discussion prepared to talk about your impressions of war before reading The Good Soldiers; where these impressions came from; how, if at all, Finkel’s story challenged these impressions; and generally speaking, how the topic of war is dealt with in popular culture. In your opinion, does this depiction line up with the reality presented by Finkel?
In his session, Economics and Business Professor Dr. Michael J. Harrison asked participants to:
Explore commonalities of war and business such as strategy, tactics, motivation, marketing, sales, goals, and metrics to name a few. We explore the ‘selling’ of the war by our elected officials and the “strategy” for winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. We explore the ‘tactics’ used by Kauz to carry out the strategy dictated by his military and political bosses. We explore how Kauz seeks to motivate his troops in the face of extreme hardship and adversity. We compare the similarities and differences of Kauz’s mission and situation to that of business managers to understand why the 2-16 faced a “lost Kauz.”
Discussions about the geographical, historical, psychological, and narrative aspects of The Good Soldiers were held as well. Campus conversations about the book continued in fall semester courses where it was assigned reading.
David Finkel will speak on campus on October, a part of Framingham State’s Peace & Conflict lecture series.
The Good Soldiers • Picador • 336 pages