Yes, Gaddis makes good points about strategy, but he has failed to prove that American statesmen were committed to democratic values.
This thesis applauds what is good in Gaddis’s work, and points out a silence that is relevant to Gaddis’s argument.
Your goal is to craft a comparable argument, one that is both respectful and critical. Your general impression of a work is not enough; you must cite specific facts, with page numbers.
Focusing on a specific fact or event lets you show how the author’s thesis does or does not explain that fact or event, or how another argument might explain it better.
Gaddis argues that Cold War American policy-makers “were projecting abroad a tradition they had long taken for granted at home: that civility made sense; that spontaneity . In lamenting the lack of evidence for Gaddis’s assertions, Sherry takes Gaddis on his own terms and shows that more work must be done.
One of my students aptly termed this a “yes, but” approach.
If you’re feeling particularly organized, you can use the type of notes called KWL.
These letters stand for what you Know, what you Want to know and what you will Learn after you read the text.
Direct quotation is also helpful, also with page numbers.
It is especially important to quote when you disagree with an author, as Sherry does when he wants to show that Gaddis, not he, introduces the themes of civility and spontaneity.