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Add This - Fraternity

Written by Diane BradyAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Diane Brady

  • Format: Hardcover, 256 pages
  • Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
  • On Sale: January 3, 2012
  • Price: $25.00
  • ISBN: 978-0-385-52474-2 (0-385-52474-9)
Also available as an unabridged audiobook download and an eBook.



1.      Why do you think the death of Martin Luther King was such a mobilizing force for Brooks and others across the country?
2.      Clarence Thomas is known for being an outspoken critic of affirmative action. Do you believe that he was a beneficiary of affirmative action when he transferred to Holy Cross?
3.      How did the turmoil on Holy Cross's campus reflect the wider turmoil across the country? Based on what you know about that time, do you think the college was more radical or more conservative than other U.S. colleges at the time?
4.      One of the first moves the students made was to form a black student union. Why was that important? Do you think they were right to do so?
5.      Was Brooks right to give the black students special privileges, from a van to extra attention?
6.      Father Brooks was able to increase the number of African Americans on campus before he managed to make the school co-ed. Why do you think it was harder to open the doors to women?
7.      In what ways did the different backgrounds of the men in Fraternity influence their views of Holy Cross?
8.      In his first year, Ted Wells dropped football to focus on his studies. Should he have lost his scholarship? Why or why not?
9.      The student athletes in the book—Wells, Jenkins, and Grayson—entertained several scholarship offers. Edward P. Jones and Clarence Thomas did not have that kind of choice. Why not? Do you believe that disparity was fair?
10.   Talk about the reasons behind the walkout and whether you feel they were justified. If the men had not been allowed back to Holy Cross, would the effort have been worth it?
11.   Ted Wells and Clarence Thomas were the two primary opponents in most BSU debates and two of the highest achievers in their class. Compare and contrast their world views. To what extent do you think their perspectives were shaped by their family backgrounds and experiences prior to arriving at Holy Cross?
12.   Clarence Thomas dismissed the idea of a black student corridor as another form of segregation. Do you agree? Do you think his decision to move on to the corridor, despite his initial opposition, was hypocritical, or was it an important concession?
13.   How do you think the Vietnam War influenced the college experience in the late 1960s?
14.   In the late 1960s, civil rights were seen primarily as an African American issue. They have since broadened to incorporate a wider range of ethnic groups, as has the definition of diversity. Is that a positive development? Do you think the African American experience is so unique that it warrants putting black civil rights in a separate category?
15.   Many of the men in Fraternity chose to pursue law degrees after finishing their undergraduate degree. Why do you think that was such a popular option?
16.   In what ways were the pressures and opportunities for the generation that Brady writes about unique? Father Brooks has said that the success of this group wasn't replicated in later years. Why do you think that is?
17.   While much of the book is focused on five men, women do appear in the story—from Nina Wells to Ogretta McNeil. Choose a female character in the book and discuss her experiences. What are her challenges, and how do they compare to the challenges of the men in the book? Do you sense the beginnings of a feminist movement in her experience?
18.   Brooks has said the men changed Holy Cross as much as it changed them. Do you agree? In what ways was the college changed by the arrival of these men?