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The Wager by David Grann Book Club Questions


The Wager by David Grann book club questions

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to sail across the ocean on a dangerous mission? To survive a shipwreck on a deserted island? To face mutiny, starvation, and wild animals? If you have, then you might enjoy reading The Wager by David Grann, a thrilling true story of adventure and survival.



The Wager is a book about a group of British sailors who were sent to attack Spanish colonies in South America in 1740. Their ship, the Wager, was part of a larger fleet that was involved in the War of Jenkins’ Ear, a conflict between Britain and Spain over trade and territory. However, things went wrong for the Wager and its crew when they got separated from the rest of the fleet and crashed into a rocky coast near Chile. Only a few of them managed to escape the wreck and reach the shore, where they faced many hardships and challenges.

The book follows the fate of the survivors, who had to decide whether to stay loyal to their captain, David Cheap, or to rebel against him and try to find their way back to England. The book also reveals what happened to them when they finally returned home, and how they were judged by a court martial that tried to determine who was telling the truth and who was lying.

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The Wager is a fascinating book that will keep you on the edge of your seat. It is also a book that will make you think about some important questions, such as:

  • What makes a good leader and a good follower?
  • How do people cope with extreme situations and difficult choices?
  • What are the consequences of war and violence?
  • How do we know what is true and what is false?

To help you explore these questions and more, we have prepared some book club discussion questions for The Wager by David Grann. These questions are designed to help you understand the book better, to share your opinions and insights, and to have fun with your friends. You can use these questions as a guide for your book club meeting, or you can come up with your questions based on your reading experience.

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Here are the book club discussion questions for The Wager by David Grann:

The Wager by David Grann Book Club Questions
The Wager by David Grann Book Club Questions

1. How did the book make you feel? Did it make you sad, angry, scared, or curious?



2. What did you learn from the book? Did it teach you something new or interesting about history, people, or the world?

3. What is the War of Jenkins’ Ear and why did Britain and Spain fight over it? How did this war affect the mission of the Wager and its crew?

4. How did the people on the island survive? What did they eat and drink? How did they make a fire and a shelter? Did they help each other or hurt each other? Why did they fight and kill each other?

5. How did the captain of the Wager, David Cheap, treat his crew? Do you think he was a good leader or a bad one? Why? Give some examples from the book to support your answer.

6. What were some of the challenges and dangers that the survivors of the Wager faced on the island and on their journey back to England? How did they cope with them?



7. What did you think of John Bulkeley? Was he a hero or a villain? Why did he and some other crew members decide to start a mutiny against Captain Cheap and leave the island on their own? Do you think they were right or wrong to do so? Why?

8. How did the people who left the island on the small boat manage to get back to England? What dangers did they face on the way?

9. What happened to the survivors when they returned to England? How did the people in England react when they heard the stories of the people from the Wager? Did they believe them or doubt them?

10. How did the court-martial decide who was telling the truth and who was lying? What evidence did they use? Was the trial fair or unfair? Do you agree with the verdict and the outcome? Why or why not?

11. What do you think happened to the people who stayed on the island? Did they ever get rescued or did they die there?



12. How does the book explore the theme of imperialism and colonialism? How did the War of Jenkins’ Ear reflect the European powers’ desire to control and expand their colonies? How did the Wager’s mission and the survivors’ experiences challenge the assumptions and ideals of the imperial system?

13. How does the book deal with the theme of truth and perception? How did the different perspectives and narratives of the survivors affect the way they understood and portrayed the events? How did the court-martial try to determine the truth and the falsehood among the conflicting testimonies? How did the author use historical sources and evidence to reconstruct the story?

14. How does the book illustrate the theme of justice and moral ambiguity? How did the survivors face moral dilemmas and ethical choices in their situation? How did they justify their actions and decisions? How did the court-martial deliver justice or injustice to the survivors? How did the author evaluate the morality and the guilt of the characters?

15. What do you think the book says about human nature and morality? How do people behave when they are in extreme situations? What makes people good or evil?

16. What do you think the book says about the importance of justice and truth? How do we know what is true and what is false? How do we judge what is right and what is wrong?



17. What does the book, in your opinion, indicate about the power of hope and belief? How do we maintain hope under hardships? How can we have faith in others and ourselves?

Learn more about The Wager book by David Grann

We hope you enjoyed reading The Wager by David Grann and discussing it with your book club. If you want to learn more about the author, the book, or the history behind it, you can check out these links:

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