Sunday, September 30, 2007

PBS' "The War"

Have spent too long today (OK, nearly 7 hours) watching Ken Burns' "The War". It is compelling, riveting stuff. As Burns says at the end of one of the episodes, he doesn't employ any talking heads to discuss it. He doesn't need any because the men who participated in it are still alive. He focuses on the stories of a few men whose stories are, well, emblematic. He goes into detail with the soldiers' families, in offering a look at the effect of war production on the economies of an area (Mobile, Alabama most specifically), and focuses on several towns-Sacramento, Waterbury CT, Mobile, and Luverne MN which provides the perspective on the war from big and little towns, east and west, industrial and rural. I'm still watching it because I did not get to see the shows when they were shown for the first time this past week. Still, the remembrances with the veterans, the film and still pictures, the accounts of the vets, are amazingly compelling and one doesn't hear the sometimes staid, removed, large-scale commentary on the strategy and tactics of the war plan. These are immediate, specific, graphic memories of a tragic (not that there is any other kind) war. It is most definitely required viewing.

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