J P Roszell
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STUDY GUIDE – THE GOLDEN RECKONING

 

“This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental”

 

The Golden Reckoning is indeed a work of fiction, yet there are a number of characters, places and incidents thatare used fictitiously. Miami and Key West are, for example, real places, but in the context of The Golden Reckoning they are used as background setting. Sir Henry Morgan and George Jung are real people, but are used to provide context to the story – they are not used as characters in the book. What is now referred to as ‘9/11’ is a real event, as are all of the hurricanes referred to in The Golden Reckoning.

 

Should you be curious about the ‘used fictitiously’ aspects of The Golden Reckoning, you might find researching the following topics interesting.

 

Hurricanes

 

All of the hurricanes referenced in the book are real. They took place in the locations and on the dates stated. The most interesting of these is ‘the Great Labor Day Storm’ that hit Florida on September 2, 1935 – the strongest recorded hurricane to ever hit the USA. This hurricane forms the backdrop for Chapter 4, subchapter IV of the Golden Reckoning. The same hurricane also forms the backdrop for the famous Humphrey

Bogart / Lauren Bacall movie ‘Key Largo’.

 

- how is the strength of a hurricane measured?

- what were the economic effects of the ‘Great Labor Day Storm’?

- what evacuation measures were undertaken?

- who was the famous writer whose fishing lodge was destroyed?

 

Characters Used Fictitiously

 

A number of ‘real-life’ characters have been used fictitiously or referenced throughout the book. Their stories are a matter of public record.

 

Sir Henry Morgan – how did he deceive the Spanish in order to escape Maracaibo?

- what is the difference between a pirate and a privateer, and what role did these distinctions play in the history of the Caribbean?

                       - what was the origin of the term ‘buccaneer’?

                       - was Sir Henry Morgan a hero or a villain?

            George Jung / Carlos Lehder / Norman’s Cay – modern-day pirates?

 

The Spanish Main

 

One early driver of exploration and the colonization of the ‘New World’ was the need for gold to finance wars in Europe

 

-       what was the ‘Spanish Main’?

-      what were ‘plate fleets’, and why were they significant?

-       the ‘Griffon’ was a real vessel … research the history of the plate fleet of 1715

-       read about the story of Mel Fisher and, specifically, his discovery of the sunken treasure of the ship Atocha

 

Colombia

 

The armed conflict within Colombia began in the mid-sixties and continues today. Little attention is paid to this situation by the press in N America, yet the United States has poured, and continues to pour, billions of dollars into the country’s conflict.

 

-       who are the main combatants?

-      what are the economic, political and social forces at play?

-       do you see a solution, or solutions?

 

Brunswick,Georgia

 

Study the early history of Brunswick, and the role of the Portuguese community.

-      why has the N American shrimp-fishing industry declined?

-       is this a good thing or a bad thing – and why?

-       if a ‘bad thing’, what could be done about it?

 

Key West, Florida Keys

 

what was the ‘wrecking industry’, its history, significance and practices?