Framingham State University Picks The Good Soldiers for the 2012 Common Reading Program

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.

Click here to see other common reading adoptions of The Good Soldiers and more Popular Picks from Macmillan, including another book with a military theme, Rye Barcott’s It Happened On the Way to War.

The Good Soldiers • Picador • 336 pages

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The Good Soldiers is the 2011 Community Text at American University

David Finkel’s The Good Soldiers, the bestselling profile of the U.S. Army’s Second Battalion, Sixteenth Infantry Regiment during deployment in Iraq, is the 2011 Community Text at American University.

The Community Text is one element of the annual Writer as Witness Colloquium, an initiative of the Department of Literature and the College Writing Program.  Every fall, the Literature and Writing faculty select a book with an interdisciplinary scope that encourages readers to think and ask questions and impels discussion among them.  Incoming first-year students are required to read The Good Soldiers this summer before beginning their first semester at AU.

In September, David Finkel will speak on campus at the Writer as Witness Colloquium, a day-long “series of presentations, panels and discussions focused on exploring ways of understand and thinking about one book . . . The colloquium aims to bring together a diverse community of readers from across American University.”  Students will have the opportunity to talk about the book with peers and faculty, and to ask the author questions, as well.

This text sets in motion a shared experience of intellectual inquiry, prompting conversations that resonate in classes long after the author’s visit.

Writer as Witness Colloquium

Students will continue to think, speak, and write about the book in their College Writing courses; The Good Soldiers will be the first assigned reading in every section of this core course.

Click here to see the list of schools that have selected The Good Soldiers, and other Popular Picks from Macmillan, for common reading programs like AU’s Writer as Witness Colloquium.

The Good Soldiers • Picador • 336 pages

The Good Soldiers is the 2010-2011 Common Book at Century College

David Finkel’s The Good Soldiers is the Common Book at Century College for the 2010-2011 academic year! Incoming first-year students and transfer students will all read the book, and many professors are likely to adopt it in their courses as well.  The college will invite David Finkel to speak on campus in Spring 2011, when they are winding down their year with a book.

The Chair of the Common Book Committee started reading The Good Soldiers the day she received her exam copy; she couldn’t put it down.  The book was as well received by the rest of the committee. She writes, “We were all mesmerized by David Finkel’s honest writing and accounts of these brave young men. This will be a challenging book in many ways, but also a very powerful learning experience.”

Century College is a community and technical college outside of St. Paul, Minnesota. A considerable number of their students are veterans. The Common Book Committee is sure that The Good Soldiers will be a meaningful book for those students and for the college community as a whole.

Click here to watch BookTV‘s video of David Finkel speaking about his time with Army Battalion 2-16.  The Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter spent 15 months with the soldiers, who were deployed to Baghdad 2007-2008.

Elizabeth Kolbert’s Field Notes from a Catastrophe was the 2008-2009 Common Book at Century College.