Week 8 Reading Guide

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Monday Reading

Gerstle, Chapter 5

Once again, remember that you always want to think about Gerstle's chapters as evidence for the argument he put forward in the Introduction. That is, how, in the case of Chapter 5, is Gerstle attempting to prove his argument to you? What evidence and historical events does he use to support the book's overall argument?

These questions are designed to help you think about how the argument and these terms play out in this chapter:

1. Why does Gerstle title the chapter "Good War, Race War"? How does this help to discern how his argument will be developed in the chapter?
2. Note that Gerstle often puts "Good War" in quotes. Why does he do this?
3. Why was the civic nation greatly expanded during World War II? Why was this different than previous wars?
4. Why does Gerstle characterize World War II as a "race war"? What three reasons does he give for this?
5. On page 202-3, Gerstle argues that there is a historical debate around whose fault it was that the Japanese/American Pacific theater of World War II became a "race war." What is the debate? Which side of the debate does Gerstle come down on?
6. Gerstle argues that the dynamic of World War II combat brigades greatly resembled the Rough Riders. Why? How did Hollywood help promote such a vision?
7. In the section of the chapter entitled, "Combat & White Male Comradeship," Gerstle heavily employs William Manchester's memoir Goodbye, Darkness. Why? What does he say it shows evidence of?

Document 22 in Course Reader, A. Philip Randolph, "Why Should We March?" (1942)

• How does Randolph try and connect African American activism on the home front to the U.S. government's stated aims in fighting World War II?
• How can this document be used as evidence for the argument Gerstle makes in Chapter 5?


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This page contains a single entry by Jason Stahl published on October 19, 2012 3:09 PM.

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