The Vietnam War

The Vietnam War

DVD - 2017
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In an immersive narrative, Burns and Novick tell the epic story of the Vietnam War as it has never before been told on film. Features testimony from nearly 100 witnesses, including many Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as Vietnamese combatants and civilians from both the winning and losing sides.
Publisher: [Arlington, Virginia] : PBS Distribution, [2017]
ISBN: 9781531701734
Branch Call Number: 959.7 V6682b
Characteristics: video file,DVD video,region 1,rda
10 videodiscs (approximately 18 hr.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in


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May 20, 2018

Powerful yet disappointing, unless you're just looking for a documentary from the U.S. perspective. There are cutaway scenes in the first couple of episodes, that seem to say "we know you're bored with these Vietnamese and French people. Here's what matters: Americans, in the jungle, 1968!" I thought it was an aberration, maybe some network interference, but no. The series continues 80% U.S., 20% Vietnam, and virtually zero percent anyone else. No French interviewees, although propping up the French empire was the excuse for the war in the first place. No one Chinese or Russian, though their influence is supposedly what was "really" being fought. No one from the international community, which persistently tried to arrange ceasefires and peace talks. And it misses one important piece of the domestic puzzle: what Eisenhower called the military-industrial complex and the near 1 trillion dollars spent in Vietnam, much of which ended up in the pockets of arms dealers and corrupt officials. But I don't want to be too hard on The Vietnam War, because it does a lot of things right; for example, it balances criticism of war atrocities with tributes to the bravery of many who fought. And not just of U.S. but of South Vietnamese soldiers, who have so long been the scapegoats of both pro- and anti-war sides. In the attached video, I hope other virtues of the series speak for themselves.

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