Questions for Discussion
Intended for readers who have finished the book. Beware of spoilers below.
- What parts of the book did you like most? Characters? Situations? Action? Humor?
- Put yourself in George’s shoes. Imagine being suddenly catapulted from another time and place into California in the 21st How would you react to the changes in technology, transportation, communication, sports, weather, lifestyle, and gender roles (among many others) you would encounter? How would your response compare to George’s?
- How would you feel about meeting a slave owner? What are Tim and Matt’s reactions to the fact that George was a slaver? Did his heroism and leadership outweigh his ownership of other humans? What happened when George tried to free all his slaves in his will? What happened to Billy Lee? Ona Judge? Hercules?
- Can you imagine living through winter conditions like the ones at Valley Forge during the encampment? What would it be like to endure their struggles for food and housing? Which of Washington’s officers from other countries were influential in the Continental Army?
- What are some highlights of the Giants’ season in 2014? Did they play consistently well? How did they get into the World Series? What player(s) attracted George’s attention? What were the (two) results of the World Series in the book? What happened when Tim, Matt, and Rachel took George to a Giants game? What new rule in baseball (in 2014) did George compare to time travel?
- If you could go forward or back in time, what might you try to change, on a personal, professional, historical, or whimsical level? What difficulties could you encounter? Do the protagonists in most time travel stories travel forward or back in time? Did Finding George Washington remind you of any other time travel stories?
- How is Amtrak different from passenger railroads in other countries? Have you ever taken a long train trip? Did you meet any assassins on the way?
- If you had met George one day in the Bay Area, would you have believed his story? Tim and Matt were understandably dubious about whether the tall stranger was actually George Washington. What helped change their minds? What would it take to convince you?
- George Washington was unquestionably a brave and valiant man, but he suffered from dental pain, decay, and extractions for most of his life. How would you have dealt with the constant pain and discomfort? Did he have wooden teeth? What other misconceptions about Washington have come down to us over the years?
- How did you feel about George meeting Hank, the pot farmer? What interest did they share? Did George taste any of Hank’s Mendocino herb crop? Did he grow pot at Mount Vernon?
- Have you visited Washington’s home at Mount Vernon, Virginia? How did your impressions compare to your expectations re: the mansion house? The slave quarters? The fields and farming operations? The stables and compost dung heap? The serene setting on the Potomac?
- George Washington has a lasting reputation as a family man and is often referred to as the Father of Our County. Yet he and Martha had no children together and he had no direct descendants. Where did he get this reputation?
- SPECIAL BONUS QUESTION (for extra credit): Have you ever visited the dog park at Point Isabel? What geographic detail about the area is altered in the description of Tim’s first encounter with George?