Book Club Questions: The Apostle

December 1, 2014

Book Club1. In THE APOSTLE, Scot Harvath mused that, “Accountability as well as personal responsibility had been chucked out the window of American culture… abdicated by the American voter.” He compared it to the Roman’s notion of bread and circuses: “as long as people had food (McDonald’s) and fun (American Idol) they didn’t care much about the erosion of their nation.”

Do you agree with Harvath that accountability and personal responsibility have been chucked by the American culture? What about his comparison to bread and circuses? Is it accurate?

2. Harvath went on to forecast that “the American citizenry was going to wake up.” Do you believe such an awakening has taken place? If so, are the citizens still awake? If not, do you see an awakening on the horizon?

3. Agent Carolyn Leonard from THE APOSTLE left the Secret Service, along with other “refuseniks,” rather than comply with what she felt were dangerous choices being made by the new President. Agent Max Holland continued to serve because he believed he “should have still been able to carry out [his] commitment to protect the person who held the office.”

Pick a side. Leonard or Holland. Make your case for leaving or staying in the Secret Service.

3. In THE APOSTLE Harvath empathized with Inspector Ahmad Rashid’s willingness to “undermine his own government in order to finance his personal escape plan,” since Scot once also “had been put in a position of having to choose between protecting his family or his country.” What are your priorities? How difficult would it be for you to choose between family and country? Which would you choose? Why?

4. Elise Campbell’s father viewed her and her brothers’ delay in marrying and starting families as “yet another example of the unraveling of America and indicative of how the nation was committing cultural suicide.” How would you characterize the state of American culture? What are the indicators you used to make your assessment? How would you compare American culture with the Pashtun code and culture described in THE APOSTLE?

5. Carolyn Leonard warns Elise Campbell early in THE APOSTLE: “Be prepared to be disillusioned. There aren’t many honest men or women in Washington anymore. Politicians get where they are by the sheer force of their egos, not their convictions…And you know what, It’s our fault as voters. We don’t demand better candidates.” Do you agree with Leonard that voters “get what they deserve” — on both sides of the aisle”? Why or why not?


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