Worksheet on Choosing a Topic

by willard ~ September 7th, 2010. Filed under: HIST 299.
  1. Briefly describe the Internet research that you did. What words did you google successfully? Name at least one useful website. Do not include web based library card catalogs in this section.

After my conversation with Dr. Beasley, I started off by Googling “Bataan Death March”, and got plenty of hits. Wikipedia, as usual, has a wealth of information though it’s not an official source. There are also many sites detailing the survival stories of individual soldiers that have found their way to the Internet. (

  1. You should talk to at least one member of this history department about your topic, or at least an expert in your field. Name that expert and briefly describe his/her comments.

For my topic I talked to a history professor I had multiple times in high school. His name is Dr. John Beasley and he taught WWII and American History. He fought in WWII and thus has intimate knowledge of my subject, as he was stationed not far from the Philippines in the Pacific. I asked if there were any events during his campaign that he remembered especially clearly. After fumbling through a few war stories (he is closing in on 90 years old), he began talking about the Bataan Death March of which I knew little about. He said that every soldier in the war took the mistreatment of American POWs personally and it motivated many who heard the story and stirred up serious hatred towards the Japanese.

  1. You must have a primary source for this paper.  Provide any pertinent information on that primary source including website and/or call number

The book Tears in the Darkness (ISBN 0374272603) is retelling of the brutal events of the Bataan Death March. The book is written by Elizabeth and Michael Norman, so it is technically not a primary source, but the book includes many excerpts from diary entries and interviews with a survivor of the death march, Ben Steele. I have yet to purchase the book so I don’t know too much about it, but hopefully it will contain plenty of pertinent information. Still in the hunt for another primary source…

  1. Are enough secondary sources available on this topic? Tell me a bit about what you found.

Yes there are plenty. The US government used the Death March in propaganda to persuade Americans to join the war efforts and a good number of books have been written detailing the march and the atrocities committed. (My Hitch in Hell, Some Survived, We Band of Angels, etc)

  1. Finally, describe your conversations with me about your topic and how your topic has evolved as a result.

Since I decided on my topic this weekend, I have not talked to Prof. Al Tikriti, so my topic has yet to evolve.

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