Tag Archives: American wars

Historians and Burns’ The Vietnam War

9 Jan

WASHINGTON — Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s recent 18-hour PBS documentary on the Vietnam War was adored by critics (The New York Times, for example, said it would “break your heart and win your mind”). And judging by the numbers — some 34 million viewers total — audiences loved it, too.

But historians? Not so much, based on a lively weekend panel called “A Fateful Misunderstanding: A Discussion of the Film Documentary The Vietnam War” during the annual meeting of the American Historical Association.

So begins Colleen Flaherty’s report on some historians’ discussion of the Burns’ and Novick Vietnam documentary. You may read the entire report here.

Ken Burns, America’s best-known documentarian, explained

28 Sep

His aim is not to make us rethink American history, but, rather, to reexperience it.

So says Todd VanDerWerff in his post at Vox. Read his astute essay on Burns here: Ken Burns, America’s best-known documentarian, explained – Vox

PBS The Vietnam War: “Riding the Tiger” (1961-1963)

19 Sep

Read historian Christian G. Appy’s thoughtful review of episode #2 of Burns & Novick’s The Vietnam War documentary: “Riding the Tiger” (1961-1963)

The Vietnam War, a documentary

14 Sep

This weekend, at last, The Vietnam War will land on our rooftops, ready to transport us back a half century and more to a conflict “begun in good faith, by decent people, out of fateful misunderstandings” that led to “a decade of agony—the most divisive period since the Civil War.” It was a “tragedy …

Read here, at the Organization of American Historians, the rest of historian Christian G. Appy’s inaugural post on Ken Burn’s new documentary series: The Vietnam War, a documentary

Four Reasons Why John Wesley Opposed the American Revolution

5 Jul

As we historians like to point out in one way or another (even if few pay us any attention), the past is more complicated than many have been led to believe. Apropos the 4th of July, just because the American Revolution was successful, was it a justified rebellion? Should Christians have supported it? See what John Wesley thought, courtesy of historian David Swartz: Four Reasons Why John Wesley Opposed the American Revolution

For Veterans’ Day: Bethel at War 1914 – 2014 | A Digital History of a Christian College in a Century of Warfare

11 Nov

Chris Gehrz and Fletcher Warren have launched a fine new web site: A Digital History of a Christian College in a Century of Warfare. Find it here: Bethel at War 1914 – 2014 | A Digital History of a Christian College in a Century of Warfare

History That Makes Us Stupid

2 Nov

To cling to the History That Matters is to make real learning impossible. Yet for academics to critically engage the HTM in a way that might affect public understanding of the past requires a revival of fields that have become decidedly unhip. The HTM is essentially a war and politics narrative, and the present-day historical profession does not emphasize political, diplomatic, and military themes. Today it’s race, class, gender, and sexuality that claim pride of place. The effect, whether intended or not, is that comforting fantasies go unchallenged and lodge themselves ever more deeply in the public consciousness. So the “Good War” remains ever good, with the “Greatest Generation” ever great.

So opines historian Andrew J. Bacevich in a challenging article at The Chronicle of Higher Education. The entire article is here: History That Makes Us Stupid – The Chronicle of Higher Education

The Civil War and the Corruptive Effects of Religious Absolutism

8 Sep

Faith may have inflamed the conflict, but one lasting legacy of the war may be the toll it took upon American faith.

Historian Allen Guelzo offers some thought-provoking musings on religion, the Civil War, and developments since. You can find his op-ed at The Atlantic here: The Civil War and the Corruptive Effects of Religious Absolutism – The Atlantic

From Decoration Day to Memorial Day

22 May

Jan Grenci of the Library of Congress provides a brief history of Memorial Day, with some helpful visual illustrations: From Decoration Day to Memorial Day | Picture This: Library of Congress Prints & Photos.

Making Veterans Day a Meaningful One

10 Nov

The Veterans History Project of the Library of Congress (LOC) is something worth knowing about–and worth participating in. Taylor describes the project here: Making Veterans Day a Meaningful One | Library of Congress Blog.

For the record, here at Northwestern College, we have a related, far-less-comprehensive project than that of the LOC: The Northwest Iowa Vietnam Veterans oral history project.

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Wirelesshogan: Reflections from the Hogan

"History is the record of our loves in all their magnificent and ignoble forms." Eugene McCarraher

The Way of Improvement Leads Home

"History is the record of our loves in all their magnificent and ignoble forms." Eugene McCarraher

the way of improvement leads home

reflections at the intersection of American history, religion, politics, and academic life

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The website and blog of historian Chris Gehrz

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Thoughtful Conversation about the American West

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"History is the record of our loves in all their magnificent and ignoble forms." Eugene McCarraher

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