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Anybody else watching The War on PBS?

Old 09-26-07, 11:57 AM
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Anybody else watching The War on PBS?

I know its kind of the wrong forum, but it's not exactly entertainment, more of a graphic history lesson. Some of it is hard to watch.

It's remarkably well done. Ken Burns saw to it that the only people who would get to tell their stories are people who were involved in WWII. No historians. I'm not a big TV watcher by any means, but I'm hooked on this show.

Anybody else watching it, or perhaps have comments about it?
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Old 09-26-07, 11:59 AM
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Damn, but I'd forgotten this was on. I meant to catch it, even though I hardly watch television. Gonna have to start tuning in.

Incidentally, have you read any of the Stephen Ambrose books about WWII? You might find them interesting as they tend to be told largely through anecdote.
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Old 09-26-07, 11:59 AM
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I didn't know PBS was at war. Who are they fighting? Public Access?
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Old 09-26-07, 12:00 PM
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Had it on last night. Enjoyed what I saw. Burns is good at his craft.
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Old 09-26-07, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
Had it on last night. Enjoyed what I saw. Burns is good at his craft.
Nuclear power? Excellent.
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Old 09-26-07, 12:58 PM
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 09-26-07, 01:08 PM
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I wanted to watch it, but the night it started, I was still 50 miles or so out of town. I even had fresh batteries in my old black & white portable TV (the only TV I have set up for over-the-air broadcasts). Oh well. I'm sure I can BitTorrent it at some point.
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Old 09-26-07, 01:19 PM
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I like Burns as well. I will set the DVR to catch this one.
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Old 09-26-07, 01:30 PM
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I watched it. Moves a little slow and gets personal with the characters...but a great documentary.

It really was a war we needed to win and lucky we did.
Nothing like the miserable mess we are in now strictly for money, oil and bragging rights.
If we left Iraq now we would still be at McDonalds drive thru's and buying large SUV's.

If we did'nt win WWII, we would all be part of a National German/Japenese reign of terror and prisinors to the state..or whatever they would have made it into.
Talk to your grandparents...they know and remember
My uncle Gus use to patrol certain bridges and coastal infrastructure during the war in the US to prevent espionage of german infiltraters.
Scared the sh$% out of me as a little kid.
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Old 09-26-07, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Michigander View Post
....Some of it is hard to watch.......
I was watching the episode the other night that included the 8th Air Force daylight bombing missions over Germany and France. It was very, very hard for me to sit and watch all those B-17's going down in flames, knowing that I was watching 10 men die every time it happened.

I do recommend a couple of good reads on WWII - Steven Ambrose's "Citizen Soldier", and "Guadalcanal Diaries". The first is an excellent layout of the European Theater of operations, and is chock-full of first person accounts, insight, and overall strategy and flow. The second is a first person account of that particular assault, and lays out exactly how brutal the business of war is, and how extra-brutal it was with the Japanese.
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Old 09-26-07, 01:37 PM
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I've been watching it. I think a missed a few episodes, but I've seen 4/14 hours so far. It's fabulous. I especially liked last nights episode about the Japanese and African American's joining the army.
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Old 09-26-07, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by bigbossman View Post
I do recommend a couple of good reads on WWII - Steven Ambrose's "Citizen Soldier", and "Guadalcanal Diaries". The first is an excellent layout of the European Theater of operations, and is chock-full of first person accounts, insight, and overall strategy and flow. The second is a first person account of that particular assault, and lays out exactly how brutal the business of war is, and how extra-brutal it was with the Japanese.
Definitely recommend "Citizen Soldier." Ambrose's "D-Day" is good, as well, but there's a certain sameness to many of the accounts, largely of necessity since it's mostly all about what happened on a single day and a single operation.
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Old 09-26-07, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by phantomcow2 View Post
I've been watching it. I think a missed a few episodes, but I've seen 4/14 hours so far. It's fabulous. I especially liked last nights episode about the Japanese and African American's joining the army.
Nope, far as I know that's all of them. Around here they are doing 7 sets of 2 hours. Every night, non stop. They've aired 6 hours so far in this area.
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Old 09-26-07, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Michigander View Post
I know its kind of the wrong forum, but it's not exactly entertainment, more of a graphic history lesson. Some of it is hard to watch.

It's remarkably well done. Ken Burns saw to it that the only people who would get to tell their stories are people who were involved in WWII. No historians. I'm not a big TV watcher by any means, but I'm hooked on this show.

Anybody else watching it, or perhaps have comments about it?
I'm enjoying it very much. I was a history major in college so this stuff is right up my alley but also it's interesting to see the great old photos of Sacramento (we're one of the four towns that KB focuses on).

Actually, there's a very famous historian named Paul Fussell who's featured but he is simply identified as "Infantryman" because that's what he was at the time.
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Old 09-26-07, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by bigbossman View Post
I was watching the episode the other night that included the 8th Air Force daylight bombing missions over Germany and France. It was very, very hard for me to sit and watch all those B-17's going down in flames, knowing that I was watching 10 men die every time it happened.

I do recommend a couple of good reads on WWII - Steven Ambrose's "Citizen Soldier", and "Guadalcanal Diaries". The first is an excellent layout of the European Theater of operations, and is chock-full of first person accounts, insight, and overall strategy and flow. The second is a first person account of that particular assault, and lays out exactly how brutal the business of war is, and how extra-brutal it was with the Japanese.
I caught that also. Manning the ball turret gun had to be terrifying – one of the most dangerous jobs out there. Ambrose’s Band of Brothers was quite good as well.
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Old 09-26-07, 03:28 PM
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Right now, I'm on an 11am-8pm shift, so by the time I ride home it's over half over. So my wife has been taping it and then I watch it after the kids go to bed. (And since she home-schools our kids, she's been making sure they watch it with her.)


I love historical television, especially about WWII. That being said, I've been particularly impressed with how Ken Burns has put this one together. Damn good stuff.
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Old 09-26-07, 04:42 PM
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So far, I think it's been very well done. It's pretty much what I would have expected from Burns, which is high praise, since he has set his own bar pretty high.

As for good reads if you want to learn more about WWII from a soldier's eye-view, I have three to recommend.

(1) With the Old Breed, by Eugene Sledge. (I believe excerpts from this book make an appearance later in Burns' series.) He was a Marine, a replacement in a unit following Guadalcanal who fought at Peleiliu and Okinawa. He shows the utter depravity to which just about everyone fighting in the Pacific War, of whatever nationality, was reduced. Case in point is what many Marines made necklaces out of (and no, I won't give it away for those who don't know).

(2) The Forgotten Soldier, by Guy Sajer. This is the memoir of an Alsatian young man who served for several years in the German army on the Eastern Front. This is an area of WWII that is far underplayed in the average American's education about the War. There is was nothing the American armed forces like the Russain Front, in terms of savage fighting maintained over a long duration. D-Day to V-E Day was 11 months. The Germans and Russians went at eat other for four years, more or less non-stop. Sajer was in the thick of it from Voronezh to Berlin. Just living through all that is pretty remarkable.

(3) Quartered Safe Out Here, by George MacDonald Fraser (author of the Flashman series of historical novels. This is a fascinating, and extremely well-written, memoir of Fraser's time in a "section" (the equivalent of our "squad") of Northumbrians during the Burma campaign of 1944-45, when a British army (meaning Ghurkas, Brits, Scots, Irish, Pathans, Zulus, Aussies, and God knows who else) led by British General Slim slogged and fought its way the length of Burma, kicking the arse of the single largest Japanese army beaten by anyone. (An area of WWII that nobody, but nobody, pays any attention to in this country.) Fraser's book is, at turns, deeply moving, incredibly funny (the book is worth tracking down just for his account of him and a couple others at a well during a lull in the Battle of Pyabwe), incredibly sad, and always thought provoking. If you can only read one of these, read this one.
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Old 09-26-07, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by colorider View Post
I caught that also. Manning the ball turret gun had to be terrifying – one of the most dangerous jobs out there. Ambrose’s Band of Brothers was quite good as well.
My uncle was a waist gunner in a B-24 over Italy.



Think about standing in an open window at 25,000 feet. With people shooting at you....
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Old 09-26-07, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
My uncle was a waist gunner in a B-24 over Italy.



Think about standing in an open window at 25,000 feet. With people shooting at you....
Between those guys and the infantry jumping out of those landing craft into a hail of machine gun fire (Omaha Beach, Iwo, you name it)– definitely took a different kind of courage.
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Old 09-26-07, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by ThinLine View Post
It really was a war we needed to win and lucky we did.
Nothing like the miserable mess we are in now strictly for money, oil and bragging rights.
If we left Iraq now we would still be at McDonalds drive thru's and buying large SUV's.

If we did'nt win WWII, we would all be part of a National German/Japenese reign of terror and prisinors to the state..or whatever they would have made it into.
Are you absolutely certain the radical Islamists are less of a threat than the Nazis? I personally think they are worse and there are solid reasons why we need to be fighting our current war. It is too bad our resolve now is not what it was in WW II.
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Old 09-26-07, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by twobikes View Post
Are you absolutely certain the radical Islamists are less of a threat than the Nazis? I personally think they are worse and there are solid reasons why we need to be fighting our current war. It is too bad our resolve now is not what it was in WW II.
Oh geeze. Could we please keep the discussion on WWII and not political stuff?
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Old 09-26-07, 08:37 PM
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It's a shame that the question of whether we should win a war or not is now considered "political stuff."

The series is excellent. We still have a few WWII vets kicking around our American Legion post. My favorite is a little guy about 5'-3" who hit Omaha on D-Day +1. He's 88 years old and will drop and give you 50 any time, as he does so at least 3 times a day. Preserving that generation's history is critical, we're losing about 200 of them every day, and we still have so much to learn from them, veteran and civilian alike.
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Old 09-26-07, 10:03 PM
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this is an excellent series. It should be required viewing in he schools. It focuses on the hardships of the war better than any other WWII movie that I have seen. It is gut wrenching at times. People back then were stronger. I have doubts that we could rise to the challenge today.
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Old 09-26-07, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by bluebottle1 View Post
Damn, but I'd forgotten this was on. I meant to catch it.


+1
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Old 09-26-07, 10:08 PM
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It does focus on the hardships better, I agree. It really emphasizes the how one is affected personally, on the home front, and front line. I don't believe people back then were stronger. I think that people today would not respond the same way because the ideologies have shifted, and I don't believe the government would get away with broadcasting so much propaganda. With the internet and how easy information travels, I just don't see any way.
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