Stunned, I am stunned to see good documentary-making going on here.
I am a long-time loather of Ken Burns' "documentaries". His various stylistic conceits, which others see as cool, I see as
However, just as a broken clock is bound to be right twice each day, somehow or other Burns gets it right with his new documentary about America in World War II, titled simply 'The War', which began last night and runs, as far as I can tell, for most of the rest of the month. It is compelling, moving and thought-provoking.
My wife calls me the most militarily-inclined pacifist she has ever known. It's true- military history fascinates me. I want to know why people wage war, and how they feel about doing it- not the generals, but the enlisted people on the line. For one reason or another I feel that's very important to understand. Two good books that make good reading for those interested in the topic of war and how it is viewed by the individual soldier are "Closing with the Enemy. How GIs Fought the War in Europe, 1944-45" by Michael D. Doubler, and "The World Within War. America's Combat Experience in World War II" by Gerald F. Linderman. I read the first one a month ago and am about halfway through the second one at the moment.
One thing Burns' documentary seems to be doing is deflating the myth of WWII as a "Good War". It was certainly a "Necessary War", but there is absolutely no such thing as a "Good War", and there never has been. I'll be interested to see, in the very long run, how this film affects Americans perceptions of the current war in Iraq.
As stunned as I find myself to say it, Burns' 'The War' is damned good tv and well worth watching.