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« WALT DISNEY TREASURES: DISNEYLAND: SECRETS, STORIES AND MAGIC | Main
Wednesday
Oct102007

THE WAR

landing_witnesses_03.jpgDirected and Produced by KEN BURNS and LYNN NOVICK
Written By GEOFFREY C. WARD
Produced by SARAH BOTSTEIN
Co-Producers PETER MILLER and DAVID McMAHON
PBS Home Video $129.99

Reviewed by:  ISABELLA LUCERO
 
The War is an epic documentary series about the Second World War as told by the humble and articulate citizens of four towns: Luverne, Minnesota; Mobile, Alabama; Sacramento, California; and Waterbury, Connecticut. Provocatively told by every day American heroes, The War is a must see for any one interested in WWII history.
 
The interviews with the veterans are both heartbreaking and informative.  Favorites include the fighter pilot Quentin Aanenson, who fought against the Germans over bucolic French fields, and Sam Hynes, part of a Marine Torpedo Bombing Squadron, one of many soldiers working his way through the tiny islands in the South Pacific.
 
Another standout is Glenn Dowling Frazier, who survived the Bataan death march only to be thrown into a Japanese prisoner of war camp for three years.  After the atomic bomb was dropped he walked out of the camp, although his captures had always told him he would be assassinated as soon as the Americans reached Japan (he walked out of the camp after digging his own grave).  This is something I would have liked to hear more about, Mr. Frazier leaving his third death camp and taking a train to Tokyo as an emaciated American. He admits it has taken him 30 years to get over what had happened to him.
 
Oddly, and now infamously, The War explores deeply African American and Anglo race relations as well as the tensions between Japanese Americans and Anglo Americans, however, it completely ignores the contributions of Latinos.  There is an addendum of the Latino and Native American contribution, however, it is clearly an afterthought created by a different team of filmmakers and does not in any way fit into Ken Burn’s War.
 
The photographs, stories, maps, survivors of The War haunt me as I am come to know that my recent European vacation was spent driving and walking over a vast graveyard filled with local townspeople and young soldiers from all over the world.
 
Isabella Lucero is a writer, mother, cook, and gardener living in Tucson, Arizona.
 
 

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