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The Vietnam War: A Film by Ken Burns & Lynn Novick. Premieres Sunday Sept. 17 on PBS.

RangersFan

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Jul 18, 2011
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Can't wait to get into this when I have some free time. I lost my Dad last week, and a Ken Burns war documentary series seems appropriate to remember him by. The Civil War was something I enjoyed watching with my father when it aired when I was a kid, and the Vietnam era, my Dad's era, he most certainly would have gotten into this one.
 

ponpo

( ≖‿≖)
Aug 22, 2011
19,680
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It's amazing how every battle each episode discusses feels completely useless. They'll spend 15 minutes talking about a platoon and how they fought and how many died and so on and when they change subjects you realize they came, landed, fought on a mound for 2 days, died, then left.

Also done ep. 5, 6-10 links pls.
 

Seventy70

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Jul 27, 2014
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Ho Chi Minh sounds like he was a good guy. When we learned about this in school he was always sort of painted as a tyrant.
 

Chichikov

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Jul 26, 2006
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I'm a bit ahead of the discussion (currently on episode 5) but, holy shit
that marine going through his dehumanization of the enemy just to retain his sanity. Imagine every human-turned-butcher having to go through that to function, probably since the dawn of war.

"I don't know how to explain it that it would make sense".
That whole segment was just so good (I mean, I kinda hate of using words like "good" to describe anything about that war, but you know what I mean).
Ken Burns and Lynn Novak are just amazing at find these people for interviews. They constantly find words that have so much grace and gravitas that had they came from anyone who hadn't actually been there it would have come across as hokey, but it works so well in that show.

The guy at the beginning of part 4 - "what vietnam needs is 5 hitlers"

:what:
Spoiler: that shithead lived a long and prosperous life in America, until his peaceful death, surrounded by his friends and loved ones, in 2011. I can't lie, whenever I encounter someone who is extraordinary garbage of a person that I don't know a whole lot about in a documentary, I rush to wikipedia hoping for some historical karma. Alas, just like in Madame "LOL Buddhist BBQ" Nhu's case, further reading offer nothing but anger and frustration.
History ain't fair.
 

Lime

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Apr 27, 2008
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Nick Turse and Christian Appy are doing good work in criticizing the inaccuracies in the latest episode:

Nick Turse‏ @nickturse 9h9 hours ago
1970 study of refugees in Quang Nam found that 80% of refugees from destroyed villages blamed U.S. and allies, 18% firefights, 2% VC

Christian Appy‏ @ChristianGAppy
"Wary of heavier bombing"--LBJ, But this is only partially true of the NORTH--US bombing of South was constant from '62 to '75.

Christian Appy‏ @ChristianGAppy 10h10 hours ago
"Hanoi would escalate too," another strained equivalency that treats North Vietnam as a foreign power, just like US #VietnamWarPBS

Christian Appy‏ @ChristianGAppy
US policy would produce 3 million homeless people #VietnamWarPBS up to '66 (I think they are saying). Many more for whole war.

Nick Turse‏Verified account @nickturse 10h10 hours ago
Defoliants not just dropped on HCM trail. ~4 million South Vietnamese exposed to toxic defoliants like Agent Orange. #VietnamWarPBS

Christian Appy‏ @ChristianGAppy 10h10 hours ago
#VietnamWarPBS Emerson described as "courageous, implacable, relentless" not as officer who bribed his men to commit a war crime.

Christian Appy‏ @ChristianGAppy
Don't miss that! Col. Emerson offers case of whiskey to first man to hack off head of enemy. The reward was paid. #VietnamWarPBS

Nick Turse‏Verified account @nickturse 10h10 hours ago
Ears were most common trophies taken by Americans, but scalps, penises, breasts, noses, teeth, and fingers were also favored #VietnamWarPBS

Christian Appy‏ @ChristianGAppy
4x more bombs were dropped on South VN than on the North. And US claimed to protect South from "external aggression." #VietnamWarPBS

Nick Turse‏Verified account @nickturse 9h9 hours ago
Hardest hit was Quang Tri, the northernmost province in South Vietnam. It's capital district was saturated with 3,000 bombs per square km
 

PillarEN

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Feb 23, 2015
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That whole segment was just so good (I mean, I kinda hate of using words like "good" to describe anything about that war, but you know what I mean).
Ken Burns and Lynn Novak are just amazing at find these people for interviews. They constantly find words that have so much grace and gravitas that had they came from anyone who hadn't actually been there it would have come across as hokey, but it works so well in that show.


Spoiler: that shithead lived a long and prosperous life in America, until his peaceful death, surrounded by his friends and loved ones, in 2011. I can't lie, whenever I encounter someone who is extraordinary garbage of a person that I don't know a whole lot about in a documentary, I rush to wikipedia hoping for some historical karma. Alas, just like in Madame "LOL Buddhist BBQ" Nhu's case, further reading offer nothing but anger and frustration.
History ain't fair.
Eh, Madame lost both her kids in a car crash (or maybe just one who was in her early 20s if I remember correctly). Husband murdered. Don't think she was ever able to return to Vietnam. That's some strong karma in my view.
 

Chichikov

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Jul 26, 2006
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Eh, Madame lost both her kids in a car crash (or maybe just one who was in her early 20s if I remember correctly). Husband murdered. Don't think she was ever able to return to Vietnam. That's some strong karma in my view.
She died on the French riviera. Kids died in the mud and she died in the French riviera.
 

PillarEN

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Feb 23, 2015
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She died on the French riviera. Kids died in the mud and she died in the French riviera.

Well, yeah the karma didn't go that far.

The PBS streaming episodes are all unlocked by now? I'm going to be finishing episode 5 tonight and would catch 6 as well if available.
 

Chichikov

Member
Jul 26, 2006
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Nick Turse and Christian Appy are doing good work in criticizing the inaccuracies in the latest episode:
Not sure what the inaccuracies are to be honest, the show seem to cover all of this, unless I'm misremembering something.

If that's about the general tone of the show, I don't know, I think it's pretty fair.
 

SolarPowered

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Feb 17, 2009
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She died on the French riviera. Kids died in the mud and she died in the French riviera.
This puts it a little more lightly like they were shot or bled out like normal deaths in a combat zone. The most unfortunate Vietnamese were literally buried alive. Probably thousands of them too. Just to save bullets because the Viet Cong couldn't spare any ammo. A bullet to the brain would have been too easy a death for her.
 
Jan 20, 2017
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Also done ep. 5, 6-10 links pls.

Where is episode 6 - 10 on their page? I still just see season 1.

the back 5 are behind a paywall, youtube-dl or whatever does work though

just finished finished ep 6 covering tet, still good but not much new information/footage from what I've seen before

I may be wrong but I think the last 5 episodes will be available free the night the 6th episode airs. And I also believe all the episodes won't stay up online for free forever. It's only while the show is airing.

So get it while the gettings good.

Edit: I'm wrong! Back five are available this weekend (the 24th!)

On September 17, concurrent with the broadcast premiere, the first five episodes of THE VIETNAM WAR will be available for streaming on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and PBS apps for iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast, and the final five episodes will be available beginning September 24. All episodes will remain accessible until October 3, when the series begins its weekly rebroadcast. During the rebroadcast period, each episode will be available to stream for two weeks. PBS station members with Passport, a benefit for donors, offering extended access to a rich library of public television programming can view the entire series (all 10 episodes) beginning September 17 (contact your local PBS station for details). The series will also be available in Spanish and Vietnamese on streaming.

http://www.pbs.org/about/blogs/news/pbs-announces-broadcast-premiere-for-the-vietnam-war/
 

ponpo

( ≖‿≖)
Aug 22, 2011
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I may be wrong but I think the last 5 episodes will be available free the night the 6th episode airs. And I also believe all the episodes won't stay up online for free forever. It's only while the show is airing.

So get it while the gettings good.

But Phrynobatrachus said they watched the 6th episode already which is somehow behind a paywall? On PBS' site?
 

xfactor99

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Jun 25, 2012
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Ho Chi Minh sounds like he was a good guy. When we learned about this in school he was always sort of painted as a tyrant.

Probably the worst things you could say about him are that (1) his military strategy greatly devalued human life and (2) land reform was brutal and violent, a lot of landlords and 'reactionaries' got murdered on trumped up changes. Of course that's balanced by his nationalist bona fides and the stories of how he tried to get a meeting with Woodrow Wilson and was told to fuck off and his quotation of the Declaration of Independence in 1945, which are well known now.

He's also not quite in the totalitarian Stalin or Mao mold in that Ho Chi Minh never held absolute power within Vietnam; throughout the 1960s the most powerful man in Vietnam was Le Duan. He was always super important as a symbol though as the cult of personality lasts even to this day. That majestic beard.
 
Jan 20, 2017
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But Phrynobatrachus said they watched the 6th episode already which is somehow behind a paywall? On PBS' site?

Yeah if you are pbs contributor you can watch all 10 now. But if not, you can wait till Sunday to get access to the last 5 episodes for free

See my post above. I found an official PBS statement about their plan and edited into my post
 

Spike Spiegel

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Jun 7, 2004
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Tonight's episode:



Episode 05. "This Is What We Do" (July 1967-December 1967)
American casualties and enemy body counts mount as Marines face deadly North Vietnamese ambushes and artillery south of the DMZ and Army units chase an elusive enemy in the central highlands. Hanoi lays plans for a massive surprise offensive, and the Johnson Administration reassures the American public that victory is in sight.
Watch the episode online @ PBS.org

After tonight there will be a break for two days; the series resumes broadcast on Sunday, Sep. 24.
 

IronRinn

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Mar 8, 2007
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Got about halfway through Episode 5 before having to get some sleep. Ken Burns is a fucking master. And I want this score.
 

g23

European pre-madonna
Sep 18, 2006
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Maaan watching this had been so eye opening. it's crazy to think about the amount of KIA US soldiers during the vietnam war was around 50k! Imagine if we had that may dead during our recent wars in Iraq/Afghanistan. There would be chaos in the streets!

Also holy shit at that John McCain interrogation clip. Makes me despise trump even more for calling him a loser for being shot down and captured.
 

RDreamer

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Aug 3, 2009
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I'm about an hour through Episode 3 and this has been great. I really want to delve more into the history of Vietnam itself and more of what was talked about in episode 1. That feels like it's rarely talked about here.

The whole thing's been crazy to watch though because I swear you get to the end of episode 1 or 2 and you get this crushing feeling like you want it to be "This was the end of the Vietnam war" because it already put so much untold horror onto so many people, especially the Vietnamese but you know from history and from the fact that you're only like 2 out of fucking 10 episodes through that it just doesn't end there. That's what's so crushing to me. Like halfway through Episode 3 if LBJ had pulled out it still would have been a horrendous time but that's just the fucking beginning.
 

PillarEN

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Feb 23, 2015
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Maaan watching this had been so eye opening. it's crazy to think about the amount of KIA US soldiers during the vietnam war was around 50k! Imagine if we had that may dead during our recent wars in Iraq/Afghanistan. There would be chaos in the streets!

Also holy shit at that John McCain interrogation clip. Makes me despise trump even more for calling him a loser for being shot down and captured.

That was a really strange moment. I only know him audiovisuslly as an old man from his presidential run onwards. Both arms broken, one leg. Lucky he didn't drown (or maybe the vest would prevent that even if he was in the water indefinitely?) only to be put together without any painkillers. Then he's used as a propaganda tool who wasn't "thankful enough" to his rescuers so he was beat after the interview.
What crazy few moments to deal with where you barely escape death to not knowing if your time as prisoner is going to pan out.

Just that odd "hey I know that guy" feeling before he was anybody.
 

LQX

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Dec 18, 2008
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Really good so far. Everything about Vietnam just seems so pointless. Much off it seemingly started and went on to save face.

And the music...man. As tragic as those times were some damn good music came out.
 

RDreamer

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Aug 3, 2009
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Holy shit: Episode 3. Can you imagine if teach-ins like this were a thing nowadays? This country would shit a fucking brick if teachers basically started anti-government rallies like that now. Crazy how times have changed so much.
 

Chmpocalypse

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May 16, 2014
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Can't wait to get into this when I have some free time. I lost my Dad last week, and a Ken Burns war documentary series seems appropriate to remember him by. The Civil War was something I enjoyed watching with my father when it aired when I was a kid, and the Vietnam era, my Dad's era, he most certainly would have gotten into this one.

Sorry for your loss. : (
 

Poindexter

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Aug 25, 2010
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So off the wall question, is anyone else streaming this from the PBS app and get audio crackling on explosions?

I just got a new receiver and new speakers and I'm streaming using the app on an NVidia shield. On some explosions I get crackling from my main and center speakers. I'm trying to figure out if it's a hardware issue or something with the app/stream.
 

Spike Spiegel

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Jun 7, 2004
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After tonight's episode I found myself wondering if anyone has tried to make a movie about Pascal Poolaw. That's one helluva story.
 

Phrynobatrachus

Neo Member
Jul 7, 2014
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So off the wall question, is anyone else streaming this from the PBS app and get audio crackling on explosions?

I just got a new receiver and new speakers and I'm streaming using the app on an NVidia shield. On some explosions I get crackling from my main and center speakers. I'm trying to figure out if it's a hardware issue or something with the app/stream.

I've noticed the same thing in my headphones, a couple times during the Hue scenes I think.
 

Sunster

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Aug 28, 2015
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episode 5 is hardest yet. fuck "tiger company"

Trying to watch this but it doesn't work on the PS4 web browser and crashes on the Xbox One browser.

you have a ps4 and an xbox one but no laptop or anything with a real browser?
 

Net_Wrecker

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Jul 16, 2009
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Watched 4 of the 5 episodes available on the site so far and wow. Great stuff. I knew the general ebbs and flows of the war and the turbulence here in the US at the time, but, as with all wars, seeing it laid out like this in such detail is always startling. What a ridiculous succession of errors in an attempt to save face. So many lives wasted. And it's only 1967 at this point. Christ.
 

Poindexter

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Aug 25, 2010
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I've noticed the same thing in my headphones, a couple times during the Hue scenes I think.
Thanks. There's a big explosion about 3 minutes into episode 5 that does it every time. I'm going to test it out later on other devices and hopefully its not my hardware

Edit: Yep. It's the source. Watched the same scene on my laptop and phone and it has the same distortion. I'd imagine its the actual recording being distorted when the bombs explode.
 

PeskyToaster

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Dec 5, 2012
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I need to get a copy of Burns' The Civil War. I've only seen parts of it on TV and in class but never the whole thing, in order. The man is a master at what he does though.
 

Markoman

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May 3, 2015
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Watched the whole docu on arte this week. Very interesting, but holy shit I never knew that more than 1m soldiers died on NV's side. A slaughterhouse.
 

OG Shaka Zulu

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Dec 9, 2016
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Ho Chi Minh sounds like he was a good guy. When we learned about this in school he was always sort of painted as a tyrant.
I haven't seen this yet but do they address Ho Chi Minh pallin' around with Black Americans, understanding their struggle and drawing parallels to his? He put out a book called The Black Race.
 

PillarEN

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Feb 23, 2015
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I haven't seen this yet but do they address Ho Chi Minh pallin' around with Black Americans, understanding their struggle and drawing parallels to his? He put out a book called The Black Race.

Not that I could tell after 5 episodes. It mainly deals with the struggles of his Vietnamese people and his concerns about Vietnam. This would have been in the first episode or second. Don't remember anymore.

And I tried to look up the book you were talking about. After failing, I realized that it wasn't a book. It would be a collection of some writings which you can find in "On Revolution: Selected Writings, 1920-1966" for those curious. Someone else on Reddit stated that he wrote under a pseudonym about America's racial tensions in the 1950s as well, but those texts are mostly untranslated.

Also from that Reddit thread was this article https://resistancephl.com/2013/06/07/on-lynching-and-the-ku-klux-klan-ho-chi-minh-1924/
 

Llyranor

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May 17, 2006
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Not that I could tell after 5 episodes. It mainly deals with the struggles of his Vietnamese people and his concerns about Vietnam. This would have been in the first episode or second. Don't remember anymore.

And I tried to look up the book you were talking about. After failing, I realized that it wasn't a book. It would be a collection of some writings which you can find in "On Revolution: Selected Writings, 1920-1966" for those curious. Someone else on Reddit stated that he wrote under a pseudonym about America's racial tensions in the 1950s as well, but those texts are mostly untranslated.

Also from that Reddit thread was this article https://resistancephl.com/2013/06/07/on-lynching-and-the-ku-klux-klan-ho-chi-minh-1924/


Wow, from 1924. He was ahead of his time.
 

Chichikov

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Jul 26, 2006
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Episode 8 random thoughts -
Well of course there was a killing of college students by state police a week and a half after Kent State that I have never heard about. And of course it was in a historically black college.
We don't call it a massacre, because you know, there were two less dead kids than in Kent State, in fact we don't call it much at all. Damn, I wish I could watch an american history documentary without being ashamed of being ignorant about some chapter in the history of POC in this country.

p.s.
And speaking of things I'm going to pretend in real life that I knew of before the show but I really didn't -
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicano_Moratorium

p.p.s.
I was expecting this episode to end with CSN&Y's Ohio and I was not left disappointed.
 

Phrynobatrachus

Neo Member
Jul 7, 2014
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Edit: Yep. It's the source. Watched the same scene on my laptop and phone and it has the same distortion. I'd imagine its the actual recording being distorted when the bombs explode.

I'll have to double check that particular spot, but most of the audio is dubbed in from what I can tell.
 

nampad

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Feb 19, 2013
8,024
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Germany
Germans can watch all episodes on the Arte Mediathek. Unfortunately, only in German and French.
Guess same would be true for French.