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[Ken] Burns' new series focuses on WWII [New epic documentary in the works]
Union Leader ^ | Nov. 25, 2006 | ASSOCIATED PRESS

Posted on 12/07/2006 5:50:44 PM PST by SquirrelKing

Two troubling statistics fueled the creation of "The War," the 14-hour documentary about World War II from acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns.

Burns thought he was done with war movies after his series, "The Civil War." But he changed his mind after realizing that America was losing its grip on the facts of World War II.

"It was really a couple of statistics that got me," Burns said. "One was that we're losing a thousand (World War II) veterans a day, and the other is that our children just don't know what's going on."

Burns said he was astonished at the number of high school graduates who were not certain who the United States fought in World War II.

"That to me was terrifying, just stupefying," said Burns, who will show the first two-hour installment of The War to Dartmouth College on Dec. 1.

The series follows four American communities -- Waterbury, Conn., Mobile, Ala., Sacramento, Calif., and Luverne, Minn. -- through the war years, focusing both on the soldiers from the towns sent to war and the families and friends left behind. Burns and his team interviewed 40 people who fought in the war or lived through it, and actors ranging from Tom Hanks to a 13-year-old Walpole girl read journals or newspaper articles about another half-dozen others. Home movies are interspersed with official archives of war footage.

"What it allows the film to be is experiential," Burns said. "It's not that our narrator doesn't talk about strategy or tactics, but you're not distracted by celebrities. It's not about Roosevelt and Churchill and Stalin and Hitler. It's not about Eisenhower and Rommel. These people are names that pass before us in this film, they're not insignificant. But the point of view is from ordinary people, who do the fighting and who do the dying in all wars."

The film also moves away from Burns' signature style -- panning a camera across or focusing on a detail in an old photograph to give the viewer a sense of movement, while an actor reads from a speech or a journal over period music. But viewers still can expect the sort of painstaking attention to detail that has become a hallmark of Burns' work. It took a year to edit the sound to make the battle scenes as lifelike as possible, Burns said.

Work on "The War" started six years ago, before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Asked about the contrast between today's home front and World War II, Burns called the latter, "the greatest collective effort in the history of our country."

Common sacrifice is lacking today, he said.

"We now have a military class in this country that suffers apart and alone, whereas there wasn't a family on any street in America that wasn't in some way touched by the war," he said.

"When 9/11 happened what were you asked to do? Nothing. Go shopping. That's what we were told," Burns said. "Go shopping. It's ridiculous. Nobody said, 'This is a war born of oil, turn your thermostats down five degrees.'"

The War will be broadcast next September on PBS.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: kenburns; veterans; wwii
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He's right about this:

"...we're losing a thousand (World War II) veterans a day..."

An era is swiftly passing into memory.

Right about this too:

Burns said he was astonished at the number of high school graduates who were not certain who the United States fought in World War II.

I am convinced, however, that the deconstruction of the WWII generation has begun in earnest, and in a short time WWII itself may be reinvisioned. I enjoyed Flags of Our Fathers, but in many ways felt that it had many of these elements. A new movie is also in the works about the USS Indianapolis tragedy. One wonders if its heroes will be portrayed honestly or with through a deconstructive lens that distills everything into a "People's History"?

In general, I like Burns' work. I alonng with millions enjoyed The Civil War immensely and want to be optimistic about this effort. Time will tell.

1 posted on 12/07/2006 5:50:48 PM PST by SquirrelKing
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To: SquirrelKing

A new WW2 documentary?

Maybe they'll finally talk about divisions besides the 101st Airborne, and battles and events not named D-Day, MARKET-GARDEN, or the Bulge...


2 posted on 12/07/2006 5:53:37 PM PST by Terpfen ("Conservatives" who sat at home cost us the War on Terror, SCOTUS, and economic success.)
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To: SquirrelKing

I look forward to this. I just hope he doesn't spend 3/4 of the series on the Tuskeegee airmen and 5 minutes on the Pacific Theater. lol.


3 posted on 12/07/2006 5:55:21 PM PST by zarf
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To: SquirrelKing
I think it'll be an excellent series, overall.

In the back of my mind though, I wonder if he'll find some homosexual who wasn't allowed to serve....

4 posted on 12/07/2006 5:57:15 PM PST by unspun (What do you think? Please think, before you answer.)
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To: zarf
I look forward to this. I just hope he doesn't spend 3/4 of the series on the Tuskeegee airmen and 5 minutes on the Pacific Theater. lol.

You mean the way he obsessed about New York and Boston in the Baseball doc's and relegated the rest of the world (the Cardinals/Cubs rivalry) to a footnote?

5 posted on 12/07/2006 5:59:21 PM PST by unspun (What do you think? Please think, before you answer.)
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To: SquirrelKing

Dad was a WWII vet - fought all the way accross Europe. I'll look forward to this and hope for the best.


6 posted on 12/07/2006 6:02:18 PM PST by Sam Cree (don't mix alcopops and ufo's - absolute reality)
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To: unspun
They, like the Negroes, served as orderlies on Navy ships, but were not allowed to serve the sushi or the arugala. ;>)

...I wonder if he'll find some homosexual who wasn't allowed to serve....

7 posted on 12/07/2006 6:02:45 PM PST by Ready4Freddy ("Everyone knows there's a difference between Muslims and terrorists. No one knows what it is, tho...)
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To: zarf
The Pacific theater was a very vast area to cover.
I once had a debate with my dad in which one was the most interesting , he said, the Europe theater, and I said, the Pacific, but all in all, the Europe theater was the more critical.
I saw ( In Harms Way ) with John Wayne, Henry Fonda, last night on TCM... I was wondering ? was that movie based around the battles around the Fiji Islands ?
8 posted on 12/07/2006 6:09:12 PM PST by Prophet in the wilderness (PSALM 53 : 1 The FOOL hath said in his heart , There is no GOD .)
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To: Terpfen

i saw clips of the unedited footage of this series. what i saw was magnificent. i was in tears in moments.


9 posted on 12/07/2006 6:13:34 PM PST by wildwood
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To: SquirrelKing

Isn't Ken Burns the knucklehead who thought rascism was a more significant factor in baseball than in the Civil War?


10 posted on 12/07/2006 6:14:05 PM PST by muir_redwoods (Free Sirhan Sirhan, after all, the bastard who killed Mary Jo Kopechne is walking around free)
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To: wildwood

Yeah, but does it cover the other 75% of the European theater?


11 posted on 12/07/2006 6:15:54 PM PST by Terpfen ("Conservatives" who sat at home cost us the War on Terror, SCOTUS, and economic success.)
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To: SquirrelKing
Gee, wonder what Doris Kearns Goodwin will have to say about WWII?

Great Burns parody: The Old Negro Space Program

12 posted on 12/07/2006 6:21:40 PM PST by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: Terpfen

ping


13 posted on 12/07/2006 6:22:04 PM PST by unkus
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To: Sam Cree

"Dad was a WWII vet - fought all the way accross Europe. I'll look forward to this and hope for the best."

As was mine and as will I!


14 posted on 12/07/2006 6:22:10 PM PST by swmobuffalo (The only good terrorist is a dead terrorist.)
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To: SquirrelKing
"...Burns said he was astonished at the number of high school graduates who were not certain who the United States fought in World War II...."

Well, gee, Ken. Whose fault do you think that is?

There is a segment of society, and not an insignificant portion, who feel that all things military are bad, and that there is no good reason to fight for anything. A hint here, Ken...and I am sure you have been to many cocktail parties attended by the devotees to PBS. For the most part, they are the same people who hold the reins of power in the public schools and colleges, write the curriculums and populate the Teacher's Unions. How could you fail to miss the conversations at those parties, chatter between the same people who dumped the military into the crapper back in the Sixties and Seventies, and were proud of it. Thank goodness for Ronald Reagan.

Yeah, Ken is talented, even has a video editing feature named after him. The Civil War documentary was great. But you sleep with dogs and you are going to wake up with fleas. Those SAME people who fete you with their dinners and ooh and ahh over you Ken, are the same people who want to rewrite history to suit their needs, beginning with what children are taught in school.

By the way, SquirrelKing, this is not a commentary on you. And you hit the deconstruction aspect on the head. Liberals like to paint conservatives as the perpetrators of what they view as the already (in their minds) existing 1984, but the truth is, liberals are the true Orwellians in that respect. They already think they can say whatever they want to, and will rarely get called out on it because the media holds their water for them and operates the "Memory Hole", and the only reason they profess to hold WWII vets in any kind of esteem is because they aren't all dead yet.

Yeah. PBS is a sore spot with me, and I am all for yanking the funding on them. Sure, I like Nova and a few other things, but it isn't worth my tax dollars.

15 posted on 12/07/2006 6:23:53 PM PST by rlmorel (Islamofacism: It is all fun and games until someone puts an eye out. Or chops off a head.)
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To: SquirrelKing

The more I think about Flags of Our Fathers, the angrier I get. Eastwood added things that never happened, JUST TO MAKE OUR COUNTRY LOOK BAD...that's the truth.


16 posted on 12/07/2006 6:24:00 PM PST by Hildy ("Death plucks my ear and says - LIVE - I am coming.....")
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To: SquirrelKing

Japanese american detainees will finally get their voices heard!


17 posted on 12/07/2006 6:25:42 PM PST by dr_who_2
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To: Sam Cree

My dad was in CBI-China-Burma-India . He ended up on Gen.MacArthur's staff and he can be seen on USS Missouri in some of the surrender photo's. God bless them all.


18 posted on 12/07/2006 6:27:40 PM PST by unkus
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To: Hildy

The book was a thousand times better.


19 posted on 12/07/2006 6:28:28 PM PST by unkus
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To: SquirrelKing; zot

"When 9/11 happened what were you asked to do? Nothing. Go shopping. That's what we were told," Burns said. "Go shopping. It's ridiculous. Nobody said, 'This is a war born of oil, turn your thermostats down five degrees.'"

Burns obviously hasn't learned anything about what this war is about with a comment like that. It is about whether or not western Judeo-Christian civilization will defend itself against a group of radical Moslems who believe that the world should return to its 7th Century existence and all should either be Islamic or be 1) dead or 2) enslaved/subservient to the Islamic theocracy.


20 posted on 12/07/2006 6:29:12 PM PST by GreyFriar ( (3rd Armored Division - Spearhead))
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To: martin_fierro
LOL, hadn't seen that!

From a link on it's wiki link:

The Old Negro Space Program, a 10-minute film, humorously chronicles fictional African-American astronauts who overcame NASA's color barrier, telling their story in the earnest style of Ken Burns' PBS documentaries like Baseball. Primarily distributed online, the film has garnered all the tokens of internet success, including its own entry in the Wikipedia and an online shop to sell its souvenir t-shirts and mugs. Its detractors accuse the film of making racism appear equally fictitious, perhaps unintentionally, and of perpetuating black stereotypes.

21 posted on 12/07/2006 6:29:14 PM PST by Ready4Freddy ("Everyone knows there's a difference between Muslims and terrorists. No one knows what it is, tho...)
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To: unkus

It usually is! :)


22 posted on 12/07/2006 6:29:17 PM PST by Hildy ("Death plucks my ear and says - LIVE - I am coming.....")
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To: Prophet in the wilderness

It was based upon the Guadacanal and Solomon Island campaign.


23 posted on 12/07/2006 6:30:08 PM PST by GreyFriar ( (3rd Armored Division - Spearhead))
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To: SquirrelKing; Victoria Delsoul

The Donald Trump of PBS strikes again. I gave up around the 100th factual error in his swollen, lumbering 'Baseball.'

This guy isn't any good.


24 posted on 12/07/2006 6:30:40 PM PST by HitmanLV (Rock, Rock, Rock and Rollergames! Rockin' & Rolling, Rockin' with Rollergames!)
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To: SquirrelKing
Nobody said, 'This is a war born of oil, turn your thermostats down five degrees.'"

Ken Burns is a left-wing piece of trash.

25 posted on 12/07/2006 6:42:38 PM PST by LdSentinal
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To: unkus; swmobuffalo
"...he can be seen on USS Missouri in some of the surrender photo's. God bless them all."

Wow! That's something special. My dad was in the IV, they hit a good many of the big battles all the way through.

26 posted on 12/07/2006 6:45:00 PM PST by Sam Cree (don't mix alcopops and ufo's - absolute reality)
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To: rlmorel

Excellent post. Expresses my thoughts exactly.


27 posted on 12/07/2006 6:57:06 PM PST by Inyo-Mono (If you don't want people to get your goat, don't tell them where it's tied.)
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To: unspun
>"In the back of my mind though, I wonder if he'll find some homosexual who wasn't allowed to serve...."

Ya mean like Elenor? You know her thighness channels her. Ugh! I disgusted myself even.

28 posted on 12/07/2006 6:57:33 PM PST by rawcatslyentist (When true genius appears, know him by this sign: all the dunces are in a confederacy against him.)
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To: Sam Cree
My dad served as a B-29 pilot out of Guam during the second World War.

Flew many night time missions over Japan. I learned more about the Pacific Theater from my father than any book I've ever read.

29 posted on 12/07/2006 7:01:26 PM PST by Northern Yankee ( Stay The Course!)
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To: rawcatslyentist
"...her thighness..."

I prefer "Her Crusty Pantsuitness"...:)

Or, the direct, and to the point "Cankles".

30 posted on 12/07/2006 7:03:29 PM PST by rlmorel (Islamofacism: It is all fun and games until someone puts an eye out. Or chops off a head.)
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To: GreyFriar

"Go shopping. That's what we were told," Burns said. "Go shopping. It's ridiculous."

I agree with Burns on this. We were told that the WOT was a mortal peril, which I thought it was and still think it is. And then we were told to do nothing. The public wasn't enlisted into the war in any way. Which made it a lot easier for the Left to say, this is all a farce, there's no threat. And made it a lot harder for the Administration to enlist support for the steps it had to take.


31 posted on 12/07/2006 7:04:02 PM PST by popdonnelly
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To: Inyo-Mono

Thanks...I think of all the years I watched things on PBS, not even considering for a moment that the people who run that place were being paid by taxpayers. As a young person, I was completely unfazed by that. Sure, they said as much in their splash-screens, and they had their fundraising, which I just turned off, so I didn't pay any attention.

I tuned in fairly frequently for Nova, but in the Nineties, when I started really paying attention to what they were actually saying and implying...I was really irritated to realize MY money was being taken from ME to give them a soapbox to spit out their Liberal pap.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.


32 posted on 12/07/2006 7:09:51 PM PST by rlmorel (Islamofacism: It is all fun and games until someone puts an eye out. Or chops off a head.)
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To: Northern Yankee

My dad was a B26 gunner who completed a tour flying out of North Africa and volunteered to go to the PTO and flew missions out of Okinawa.

He dropped some of the last warning leaflets (warning that something big was coming) over Japan before the drop on Hiroshima.


33 posted on 12/07/2006 7:11:47 PM PST by RJS1950 (The democrats are the "enemies foreign and domestic" cited in the federal oath)
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To: Northern Yankee
"I learned more about the Pacific Theater from my father than any book I've ever read."

I can imagine. I'd have been scared to death if I was him, though.

34 posted on 12/07/2006 7:11:47 PM PST by Sam Cree (don't mix alcopops and ufo's - absolute reality)
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To: muir_redwoods

Yes, I dread the re-writing of history coming in this documentary. I'm sure it will be touted as the definitive WWII epic by the media.


35 posted on 12/07/2006 7:13:10 PM PST by word_warrior_bob
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To: Terpfen

Watch the History Channel. Just got done watching a documentaty on Saipan and last week a show on Bataan.


36 posted on 12/07/2006 7:27:45 PM PST by L`enn
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To: L`enn

So did I.

But I specified the European theater. I'm so tired of hearing about the same three operations and the same one division.


37 posted on 12/07/2006 7:37:36 PM PST by Terpfen ("Conservatives" who sat at home cost us the War on Terror, SCOTUS, and economic success.)
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To: dr_who_2

What percentage of the documentary will be devoted to The Tuskegee Airmen.


(Not to diminish their service mind you, but knowing Burns history, he'll probably devote several hours to them alone)


38 posted on 12/07/2006 7:41:19 PM PST by dfwgator
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To: SquirrelKing

You can't do justice to a cataclysm like the Second World War with a documentary. Not possible. The best effort I've seen is the British, "The World at War".


39 posted on 12/07/2006 7:58:57 PM PST by popdonnelly
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To: Terpfen

Don't count on it. The main focus will be on:
(1) Racial strife in the US military.
(2) Class conflict between officers and enlisted men.

And I base my predictions only on his baseball documentary.


40 posted on 12/07/2006 8:00:10 PM PST by AmishDude (I coined "Senator Ass" to describe Jim Webb. He may have already used it as a character in a novel.)
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To: dr_who_2

I forgot that. Yep, Japanese detainees and US Army segregation. It'll come up in each part of the series.


41 posted on 12/07/2006 8:03:42 PM PST by AmishDude (I coined "Senator Ass" to describe Jim Webb. He may have already used it as a character in a novel.)
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To: RJS1950; Sam Cree
Amazing...

My father was flying missions to the war's end. He lost an engine coming back from Japan and had to make an emergency landing at Iwo Jima. By the time he flew back the next day Japan had announced their surrender.

42 posted on 12/07/2006 8:18:31 PM PST by Northern Yankee ( Stay The Course!)
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To: popdonnelly
The best effort I've seen is the British, "The World at War".

Best War Documentary, ever. For the tactics aspect of the war, "Battlefield" is by far the best.

43 posted on 12/07/2006 8:20:19 PM PST by dfwgator
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To: Victoria Delsoul; kstewskis
My father was flying missions to the war's end. He lost an engine coming back from Japan and had to make an emergency landing at Iwo Jima. By the time he flew back the next day Japan had announced their surrender.

Pearl Harbor Day.

God Bless our Veterans of World War 2, and all who serve in harm's way.

44 posted on 12/07/2006 8:21:18 PM PST by Northern Yankee ( Stay The Course!)
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To: HitmanLV

LOL.


45 posted on 12/07/2006 9:22:27 PM PST by Victoria Delsoul
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To: Northern Yankee
Pearl Harbor Day.

Indeed. It's my birthday as well. :-)

46 posted on 12/07/2006 9:24:10 PM PST by Victoria Delsoul
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To: Victoria Delsoul

Ken Burns is just the worst - I have no idea how anybody could take that guy seriously. :-)


47 posted on 12/07/2006 9:39:39 PM PST by HitmanLV (Rock, Rock, Rock and Rollergames! Rockin' & Rolling, Rockin' with Rollergames!)
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To: HitmanLV

Me neither, lol.


48 posted on 12/07/2006 9:43:59 PM PST by Victoria Delsoul
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To: GreyFriar
Burns obviously hasn't learned anything about what this war is about

True. And I wonder if he has any idea what World War II was about. I expect this flic to be a batch of scenes about "common people" with little or no content that shows the overall threat, purpose, scope, or strategy of the war.

49 posted on 12/07/2006 9:50:39 PM PST by zot (GWB -- the most slandered man of this decade)
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To: Terpfen

http://www.history.com/minisites/lostevidence/


On right now.


50 posted on 12/08/2006 9:11:32 PM PST by L`enn
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