Then I came across this through that first site: http://www.ipl.org/IPLBrowse/GetSubject?vid=13&tid=6925&parent=0
I could lose myself researching. That's bad. So I need to chose a particular area for focus this summer and stick to it. Why am I researching? That should be obvious. I'm a historian in training. I need to know why. And I need to figure out why the why is the why. And how that why influenced this why. And what conclusions we can draw from all those whys. As George Santayana said, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. And "The wisest mind has something yet to learn".
My choices are Modern Russia and the American Civil War era, since those are two of the classes I'm taking in the fall and I don't have time right now to pursue other interests. And I'm leaning toward the Civil War because I happen to have a book on it and I can't count the number of reenactments I've been to throughout the course of my life. My dad loves that period. Also WWI and WWII. He likes military strategy. He plays those extensive, fancy, comes-with-reams-of-instructions war games. He has no favorite side-he's Belgian.
So I have a resource in him. And he's got an entire bookcase filled with books written about the Civil War. So I didn't need opinions after all. I made the decision all by meself. But thanks for letting me write down the thinking process.