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PBS presents Burns Novick The Vietnam War
Well I have posted review on about 75 places on Twitter today. If others would too we could get a million per show listening to BLACK OP and hundreds of thousands reading every article on K and K...

But critical mass seems to not interest folks much..
"There are three sorts of conspiracy: by the people who complain, by the people who write, by the people who take action. There is nothing to fear from the first group, the two others are more dangerous; but the police have to be part of all three,"

Joseph Fouche
America's amnesia

Thomas A. Bass


Quote:Everything wrong with the new ten-part PBS documentary on the Vietnam War is apparent in the first five minutes. A voice from nowhere intones about a war "begun in good faith" that somehow ran off the rails and killed millions of people. We see a firefight and a dead soldier in a body bag being winched into a helicopter, as the rotor goes thump, thump, thump, like a scene from Apocalypse Now. Then we cut to a funeral on Main Street and a coffin covered in Stars and Stripes, which multiply, as the camera zooms out, into dozens and then hundreds of flags, waving like a hex against warmongers who might be inclined to think that this film is insufficiently patriotic.

Everything right with the documentary is apparent in the next few minutes, as the film rolls back (literally running several scenes backward) into a trove of archival footage and music from the times and introduces the voices many of them Vietnamese that will narrate this history. The film relies heavily on writers and poets, including Americans Tim O'Brien and Karl Marlantes and the Vietnamese writers Le Minh Khue, and Bao Ninh, whose Sorrow of War ranks as one of the great novels about Vietnam or any war.

The even-handedness, the flag-draped history, bittersweet narrative, redemptive homecomings and the urge toward "healing" rather than truth are cinematic topoi that we have come to expect from Ken Burns and Lynn Novick through their films about the Civil War, Prohibition, baseball, jazz and other themes in United States history. Burns has been mining this territory for forty years, ever since he made his first film about the Brooklyn Bridge in 1981, and Novick has been at his side since 1990, when he hired her as an archivist to secure photo permissions for The Civil War and she proved the indispensable collaborator.
"There are three sorts of conspiracy: by the people who complain, by the people who write, by the people who take action. There is nothing to fear from the first group, the two others are more dangerous; but the police have to be part of all three,"

Joseph Fouche
Thanks Nathaniel, others are posting it on FB.

Joe McBride sent me one of those. So you are not completely alone.
Anthony Thorne Wrote:This does raise the question, what are the best books to read about the Vietnam war?

Books I have read that I would recommend are;

about the build up and strategy (both updated since the first editions);
Prouty, L. Fletcher; JFK: The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy
John Newman; JFK and Vietnam

about some of the fighting;
Robert Mason; ChickenHawk

Peter B
Another good article exposing this very bad documentary
Imo the best books are

American Tragedy by David Kaiser
JFK and Vietnam by Newman
Perils of Dominance by Gareth Porter
Howard Jones Death of a Generation
the book by Gordon Goldstein that came out in 2007...|
Choosing War and the follow up book on the late 50s period are very good but flawed compared with the above....
Thanks Nathaniel. I'll check those out. I notice I have Scott's WAR CONSPIRACY, Newman's volume and Prouty's book on the shelf as well. I'll tackle them all at some point.
The Goldstein book is called Lessons in Disaster.

Scott's book was good for its time, but even he would tell you that its been surpassed with all the declassified documents today.

Choosing War is quite good on what LBJ did from when he took office until the announcement of Rolling Thunder.

Logevall is not good on Kennedy.
I just finished this overlong, bloated mediocrity.

I wish I had not.

But since I am writing about it, it have to.

The problem is simple: Burns and Novick don't have anything to say. So they pad it all out with these personal stories that end up being maudlin when it gets to the Vietnam Memorial.

But the worst thing is the lack of any kind of analysis to explain what happened. How the USA completely miscalculated Vietnam's importance, and also the so called international communist conspiracy that did not exist. And finally, that the USA really did not learn anything except as George W Bush said, "We have to kick this Vietnam syndrome".

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