I am not giving you a specific topic for the journal writing. What I’m asking you to do in the reading journal is to engage in some independent, analytical thought about what you are reading. You can choose any of the readings to write about — in the main course text and/or in the additional readings — chapters 9 through chapter 12, and you can address more than one if you so desire. That means you could write 3-4 pages about one of the readings or 1 page each about three or four different readings.
The main point of the activity is to get you to go beyond simply reading the material and start thinking about it in a critical/analytical way. What do you think about what you read? Does it raise interesting ideas that you hadn’t thought about before? If so, what are they and how do they change your understanding of American history, or your perception of the military?
Does the reading raise new questions in your mind — questions that the reading itself does not answer? If so, what are they and what do you think is significant about those questions?
Does the reading challenge or conflict with things that you thought you knew? Do you see any conflict between the readings — do two authors present alternate perspectives on a single issue? Those are the kinds of things I want you to be thinking about as you read.
You are free to explore whatever issues you see in the readings. I just want to see evidence in your journal that you have read carefully and thought deeply about what you are reading.