BKMT READING GUIDES

The Mass of Men
by K. Rachel Wentz

Published: 2013-10-31T20:3
Kindle Edition : 293 pages
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How are firefighters made? What does it take to enter a burning building and risk your life to save another? The cadets of Class #64 are about to find out.

Under the stern supervision of their instructors, the students struggle against the relentless pace of their training. As each ...

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Introduction

How are firefighters made? What does it take to enter a burning building and risk your life to save another? The cadets of Class #64 are about to find out.

Under the stern supervision of their instructors, the students struggle against the relentless pace of their training. As each makes the transition from novice to professional, the relationships they develop take on dimensions of their own.

Sam is headstrong and driven, but as the only female in the group, she has the added burden of fitting in. Her situation is further complicated by the deep platonic bond she shares with a fellow cadet and an evolving connection with their commanding officer.

Ty grew up under the heavy hand of an abusive father. But he comes into his own at the academy, in large part because of the friendship he shares with Sam and the mentoring he receives from a most unlikely source.

And Matt Daniels serves as a rigid disciplinarian over the cadets and staff, yet everything changes when he allows himself the emotional freedom to bond with his students.

Sam, Ty, and Daniels must now navigate an emotional triangle, all the while being bound by the rank structure that defines them.

The Mass of Men takes the reader inside the grueling training of firefighters, revealing the drama, humor, and intensity of an academy. The punishing physical demands are only part of the challenge as the cadets overcome fears and wrestle with conflict, knowing they will one day be responsible for the lives of others.

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Excerpt

I

She stood in line, the lone female among thirty-four cadets, an interloper, branded by a lack of testosterone. The cadets braced at attention, feet planted shoulder-width apart, fists knotted at the base of their spines as the instructors made their way across the polished wood floor, their footsteps echoing off the high walls of the gymnasium. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

1. Can a woman integrate seamlessly into a male dominated profession? If so, what are some of the strategies she should employ to achieve this? If not, why? Having gone through this process, I would be happy to discuss some of the strategies I employed during my 13-year career as a firefighter.

2. How do you think Samantha handles the harassment incident with Officer Lees? Should she have done more? How would you have handled her situation?

3. What are some of the barriers that prevent men and women from maintaining platonic relationships (aside from sex!) and is friendship truly possible when one side has deeper feelings? Can friends achieve a balance or is the friendship doomed?

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