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BAEN BOOKSTEACHER’S GUIDE TO 1632 BY ERIC FLINTContents: recommended reading levels biographical material and links background of the book and plot summary character sketches a separate guide to each of the seven parts of the book, which includes a plotsummary of each chapter and may also include some of the following:o prepare to read § vocabulary§ focus questions or initiating activityo quiz/reading comprehension questions—multiple choice/short answerquestions to testing reading comprehensiono reflection and discussion questions—may be used to initiate classroomdiscussion, as short writing assignments, or as test questionso suggested activities / inquiry-based exploration—suggestions for activitiesand projectsRecommended reading levels: The reading level of 1632 has received a Lexile measureof 0650L. Because of the mature nature of some of the material included in the book,including rape, violence, and sexually explicit scenes, classroom use of the book isprobably most appropriate for upper-level high school students. The book would beparticularly effective for upper-level classes in history and Western civilization.Biographical information on Eric Flint:Eric Flint is a popular, prolific, and critically acclaimed author of alternate history,fantasy, and science fiction. He was born in Southern California in 1947, graduated fromhigh school in Los Angeles, and went on to receive a B.A. from UCLA in 1968. He spentthree years working on a Ph.D. in Southern African history, but abandoned an academiccareer when he became a socialist and political activist. For the next thirty years, heworked in a variety of jobs, including longshoreman, truck driver, and machinist. He hadwritten for many years, but decided to get serious about writing professionally in 1992.Since then, as author and co-author, he has written dozens of successful novels, novellas,and short stories.1Biographical resources on the web:1The source for the information contained in this biographical sketch is Eric Flint, “Biography,” EricFlint’s place on the web, (accessed November 13, 2010).1

Flint has provided autobiographical information at his own website, Eric Flint’splace on the web, The Eric Flint web page at Amazon contains a short biographical sketch: “EricFlint,”, “Eric Flint,” Wikipedia, Flint.Suggested class activity: Have your students read the autobiographical informationon Flint’s website before they begin the book. Ask them to make notes as they readand, when they finish, write essays on how 1632 reflects Flint’s history as a socialist,political activist, and manual laborer.For further information on Eric Flint and his work: Flint’s website contains a wealth of material that students may enjoy exploring inaddition to his biographical details: photos, a bibliography, discussions, and newsabout current projects and upcoming appearances ( Wikis about Flint’s life and work may be found at Flint Wiki and FlintBibliographies:You can find bibliographies of Flint’s work at his own raphy/), at the website of the InternetSpeculative Fiction Database ( ( Flint),and on Wikipedia ( Flint).1632 background:Flint published 1632 with Baen Books in 2000. It is part of the genre known as alternatehistory. In 1632, a cosmic incident upsets the space/time continuum and a new version ofseventeenth century European history unfolds. It was a popular book and spawned anumber of sequels and spin-offs set in what has come to be known as the 163x series, theRing of Fire series, or the Assiti Shards. The series inspired its own fan site, as well as ane-zine for works written by other authors within the 1632 universe. Students may beinterested in exploring The Official 1632 Fan Site ( and the e-zine, TheGrantville Gazette ( Summary: The small mining town of Grantville is celebrating the marriage of TimSimpson and Rita Stearns. In the middle of the wedding reception, a blinding flash and a2

thunderous crash startle everyone. When the shaken citizens go exploring and piecetogether all the evidence they can gather, they conclude that their six mile hemisphere ofmodern-day West Virginia has somehow been transported to seventeenth centuryThuringia in Germany in the midst of the Thirty Years War. Surrounded by violence,rape, pillage and suffering, they resolve to bring American democracy, decency, justiceand firepower to their part of the Holy Roman Empire.Major Characters: Mike Stearns is a coal miner who led the adventurous life of a soldier,longshoreman, and professional boxer (among other things). When his fatherdied, Mike came back to West Virginia to work in the mines and take care of hisfamily. He is president of the local miners’ union.Rita Stearns is Mike’s sister, newly married to Tom Simpson as the story opens.She later becomes one of the first women in Grantville’s new army.Tom Simpson was a football player for West Virginia University. As the storyopens, he has just married Rita. He is the son of wealthy parents from Pittsburgh,who disapprove of his choice of college, his playing football, and his choice of awife (whom they consider “white trash”).John Chandler Simpson, Tom’s father, was the chief executive officer of a largepetrochemical corporation. He tries to throw his weight around in the newGrantville, but gets nowhere.Sharon Nichols is Rita’s friend and maid of honor.James Nichols is Sharon’s father, a surgeon. He later becomes one of themembers of the emergency committee set up to help Grantville survive.Ed Piazza is the principal of the local high school and another member of theemergency committee.Dan Frost is Grantville’s chief of police. He is shot and wounded in the citizens’first encounter with German mercenaries.Harry Lefferts is a young miner who is wounded in an early encounter withGerman mercenaries.Rebecca Abrabanel is a beautiful young woman the Americans meet during theirfirst encounter with mercenaries in Thuringia. She and her father, Balthazar, areSephardic Jews who were on their way from Amsterdam to Badenberg. Shebecomes the first national security advisor of the new Grantville government.Balthazar Abrabanel is a Jewish philosopher and physician who was expelledby the Jewish community in Amsterdam for heresy. He is also involved in politicsand has been sent as a courier to carry money from the Dutch to Gustav IIAdolph, king of Sweden.Tilly (Johann Tserclaes, also known as Jan Tzerklas, Count von Tilly) is oneof many historical figures who appears in 1632. He was a general representing theCatholic League in Germany during the Thirty Years’ War. See the article“Johann Tserclaes, count von Tilly,” in the online version of the EncyclopaediaBrittanica for details on his life.3

Johann-Tserclaes-Grafvon-Tilly).Morris and Judith Roth are a Grantville couple that take Rebecca and her fatherinto their home.Gustav II Adolf (Gustavus Adolphus) is another historical figure who plays alarge role in 1632. He was the king of Sweden who, during the Thirty Years War,led Swedish troops into Germany on the side of the Protestants against the HolyRoman Empire. He was largely responsible for the success of Sweden during thatwar. For details on his life, see the article, “1911 EncyclopædiaBritannica/Gustavus II. Adolphus,” Encyclop%C3%A6dia Britannica/Gustavus II. Adolphus.Axel Oxenstierna, a historical figure, is a trusted advisor to Gustav II Adolf. SeeEncyclopædia Britannica - eleventh edition at 1910-1911, pp.401–402. djvu applet.cgi?file edia Britannica 20 Ode Payment of members.djvu.William, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel is one of Gustav II Adolph’s few Germanallies.Wilhelm and Bernard, Dukes of Saxe-Weimar, are two of Gustav II Adolph’sGerman allies.Lennart Torstensson is commander of the King of Sweden’s artillery.Alexander Mackay is the illegitimate son of a minor Scots nobleman. He is theScottish cavalry officer in command of a small garrison of the king’s men inThuringia.Andrew Lennox is Mackay’s second-in-command.Melissa Mailey is the liberal, acerbic history teacher who becomes part ofGrantville’s first emergency cabinet. In her younger days, she was part of the civilrights movement, marched against the Vietnam War, and supports the UnitedMine Workers of America. She is also a vociferous supporter of rights forwomen. She is part of the subcommittee to draft a constitution for the newAmerican territory.Members of the first emergency committee in the new Grantville: MikeStearns, Frank Jackson (miner), Ed Piazza, Melissa Mailey, Greg Ferrara(science teacher), Henry Dreeson (mayor), Dan Frost (police chief), Bill Porter(power-plant manager), Dr. James Nichols (surgeon), Quentin Underwood(farmer), Willie Rae Hudson (farmer), and Rebecca Abrabanel.Julie Sims is head cheerleader at the high school, a talented sharpshooter, and oneof the first women in Grantville’s new army.Hans Richter is a young German boy who has been conscripted into Tilly’sarmy.Gretchen Richter is Hans’s beautiful older sister. Catholic mercenaries rapedGretchen. She managed to become the concubine of Ludwig, the informal leaderof a small band of the soldiers. She later marries a young American and becomesa liaison between the Germans and the Americans.4

Diego the Spaniard is one of the cruelest of the mercenaries and intends to rapeGretchen’s younger sister.Jeff Higgins is a Grantville high school student who is one of Greg Ferrara’s“whiz kids.” He and three of his friends played a large role in designing therockets for the first battle between the American forces and Tilly. They also serveas motorcycle couriers during the battle.Gayle Mason was one of the first women to work in the mine in Grantville andnow serves in its army.Moses and Samuel Abrabanel are relatives of Rebecca’s who come toGrantville to aid in setting up a credit and banking network.Don Francisco Nasi is the rising star of the Turkish branch of the Abrabanelfamily. He comes to Grantville and quickly decides to invest with the Americansand also to advise his family to immigrate there.Cardinal Richelieu is a clergyman, noble and influential political minister inFrance. His primary goal is to maintain and enhance the power of France.Wallenstein (also known as Albrecht Wenzel Eusebius von Wallenstein orAlbrecht von Waldstein) is supreme commander of the Hapsburg armies duringthe Thirty Years War.GUIDE TO PART 1—prologue and chapters 1—14Prepare to Read Familiarize yourself with the following vocabulary and terms:o superstringo SETIo Thuringiao solidarityo matchlocko cuirasso camouflageo obliviouso hidalgoo Galeno arquebuso labyrintho menoraho excoriatingo veritableo lineageo landgraveo acerbico Equal Rights Amendmento burgher5

ooooooooooooo conversosauto-da-fénapalmnubileproprietyanno DominiHolocaustFocus questions and initiating activities:o Research and discuss the idea of multiple/alternative universes.What do scientists think about the plausibility of this general idea?(prologue)o What are Marquis of Queensbury rules? (chap. 1)o Who were the Landsknecht? (chap. 4)o Who are the Sephardim and the Ashkenazim? (chap. 4)o Who were the marranos? (chap. 4)o What is the Holy Roman Empire? (chap. 5)Take a look at the map of the HRE at the beginning of the 30Years War (1618) at the website of Emerson archive/holy roman empire 1618.htmo Investigate the Siege of Magdeburg. (chap. 5) Helpful sourcesinclude the website Timelines ( and the article on Magdeburg at the website of theonline New World ntry/Magdeburg)o Look at the timeline of the 30 Years War provided on the websiteTimelines ( What lightdoes this shed the book’s title? (chap. 5)o Find some portraits of Gustav II Adolph on the web and comparewhat you see to Flint’s description at the beginning of chapter 6.o Find a short biographical sketch of Gustav II Adolph on the weband see what you can learn about the man, his character, and hisaccomplishments. (chap. 6)o Why does Flint refer to Gustav II Adolph’s attack on the furnitureto vent his anger as “a veritable Sicilian Vespers for the seatingequipment”? (chap. 6)o Do a thought experiment. If you and fifty other people weresuddenly stranded on an island with no hope of communicating6

with the outside world for many years, what would you do? Whatwould be your immediate concerns? What form of governmentwould you set up? (chap. 8)o Investigate the Inquisition, its inception, its relationship to Jews,and its role in this time period. (chap. 11)o Do some research to learn about Buchenwald and the Americanliberation of that death camp. (chap. 14)Chapter Summaries: Prologue: The Grantville disaster is the “exchange” of a perfectly circularhemisphere about six miles in diameter from medieval Thuringia in Germany tomodern West Virginia. The exchange causes a new universe to split off from theold. The event resulted from the negligence of an advanced race called the Assiti,who practiced the art of sculpting space/time. A discarded fragment from one oftheir art works went astray, with unfortunate results.Chapter 1: Most of the population of the small mining town of Grantville, WestVirginia is celebrating at the