Posted By RichC on September 22, 2017
The Ken Burns and Lynn Novick 10 part documentary THE VIETNAM WAR airing each night this past week on PBS has been eye opening even for someone who "thought" they knew their Vietnam history. I’ve read a lot of books over the years and lived through most of the war stateside in real time (to be honest, I was pretty young). As a few of the emotional moments were being shared, I couldn’t help but realize just how relieved my parents were when the war (and draft) ended just as their two boys were coming of age. I was personally relatively sheltered from having to make any decision, but suspect if I were a few years older, it would have been a big deal.
The early episodes (what I’ve watched so far) are exceptionally important for those trying to put the Vietnam War and the protest movement that coincided in context to the cold war and spread of Communism history. From the year of occupation and the long bloody war with the French, it was easy to see why the Americans were seen as no different by the Vietnamese people … particularly rural and in the north. The political struggle and corruption within the South Vietnamese government were many … and realizing the exact same struggle was happening (unknown to most in the US) in the North between Ho Chi Minh and his generals. Neither side trusted or believed each other or in the countries backing them (China, USSR and the United States).
The history and documentary style is something I enjoy, but my wife is not as interested so I’m even more immersed in the program since I’m watching it in our home theater … something we just haven’t been doing lately. Both cinematography and sound is exceptional … well worth enriching your understanding of the events leading to, the war and political decision-making struggles, the individual emotions and citizen protests that eventually brought and end to this terrible war (although I’m not sure what war isn’t "terrible?") That said, if you go into the program with an open mind, you’ll come way with a better understanding and "maybe" a little more appreciation for all involved in the decisions in a war that took the lives of about 2 million people (58,318 American) between the years of 1955-1975.