The Vietnam War - Ken Burns

Discussion in 'Vietnam' started by von Poop, Oct 5, 2017.

  1. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Got started on the first couple of episodes of Ken Burns's Vietnam series.
    Similar style to his US Civil War & WW2 ones. Dry, calm, thorough, step-by-step, and basically good.

    Well worth a watch.
    Episode 1 on iPlayer for another month.

    The Vietnam War, Series 1: 4. Doubt (January 1966-June 1967): via @bbciplayer
    CL1 likes this.
  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Yep saw that by chance whilst flicking through channels
  3. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    Me too. Looks interesting.
  4. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    It's been running here on PBS (U.S. public television) and is quite good. I've PVR'd the entire series.
    Margaret Ann likes this.
  5. toki2

    toki2 Junior Member

    I am very impressed with this riveting series. I had a very sketchy knowledge of the Vietnam War and all of it from the American prospective. To hear the testimony from both sides was very enlightening and I must admit that early on in the story my sympathies were with the Vietminh. Kennedy just before his assassination admitted that it was a war that they could not win yet for years they poured in more and more young troops to be slaughtered as they did not want to lose face. No wonder those veterans were shunned when they limped home totally broken as the entire nation were shamed.
    Margaret Ann likes this.
  6. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    I have a copy of this book, which I believe was adapted into a (Canadian) series or vice versa.


    It's left-leaning, I think, but good as it charts the whole damned saga from the French experience to the fall of Saigon and the political and social fallout. It isn't military history, but rather a political and social history with military focus.

    More broadly, the best book I've read on any Vietnamese subject is this.

    Margaret Ann likes this.
  7. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Anything produced by our CBC is, by definition, left leaning. Your observation is correct.

    Michael Maclear made several wartime visits to North Vietnam (1969-1970-1972) for CBC and later for CTV, the first Western TV correspondent granted admission to the North. In 1963 as CBC's Far East correspondent based in Japan he married Yoko (Mariko) Koide, a news researcher whose contacts with the newsfilm agency Nihon Denpa News and its Hanoi bureau made possible a series of exclusive reports also aired by CBS, NBC and syndicated by The New York Times. Subsequently, Yoko's contacts were key to obtaining Hanoi's military archives for the 13- hour television history "Vietnam: The 10,000 Day War," which Maclear independently produced in 1980.
  8. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Joined a passing conversation with Mr Reed & Mr Ball recently.
    Remarkable amount of quality literature came out of that war.
    For me Despatches, Chickenhawk, and a little memoir called Field of Innocence stick with me from teenage reading:


    Hackworth's 'About Face' opened up a few avenues of enquiry too. Possibly started me reading more 'real' military history.

    Mr Ball has implied I may be foolish for not having read Sheehan's 'A Bright Shining Lie' when a mate forced it on me, so may get on with that soon.
    (Hang on. Think the journo in the series is Sheehan? Hmmm. )
  9. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    There's some excellent recommendations in this thread. I'd add to that list The Cat from Hue by John Laurence and of course, A Rumor of War by Philip Caputo.
  10. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    The Tunnels of Cu Chi: A Remarkable Story of War
  11. smdarby

    smdarby Patron Patron

    For an antidote to so-called left leaning literature, try reading "Unheralded Victory" by Mark Woodruff. I didn't know until reading this that the US actually won the Vietnam War and to say otherwise is lefty, pinko, fake news nonsense!

    One interesting stat in it, which may or may not be true, is that the famous VC punji sticks only accounted for 2% of casualties and not a single death in Vietnam.


    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
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  12. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    I've been in one of them. The guide told me that westerners were too big (read: fat) to get inside, but I proved him wrong--just.

    'Claustrophobic' does not adequately convey the size.
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  13. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    And while we're on tne topic, there is a superb and very moving documentary called Last Days in Vietnam (2014) on Netflix. As you can probably guess, it's about the Fall of Saigon and the minor heroics and tragic decisions taken in the dying days of the war.

    Thoroughly recommended--in part because the lessons learnt by the world then still resound today.
    Margaret Ann likes this.
  14. toki2

    toki2 Junior Member

    Alas lessons learnt are soon forgotten with new kids on the block who think they are infallible.
    canuck likes this.
  15. Margaret Ann

    Margaret Ann Junior Member

    I watched the whole series of Ken Burns' Vietnam and learned a lot. What we were never told about that incident, wherein a Vietcong was shot in the head and killed, was that he had butchered the entire family of a high ranking South Vietnamese. I meet a lot of Vietnam veterans here in Michigan and they usually seem willing to talk about their experiences. Lots of 60's popular music played during the TV episodes as well. Vietnam vets made The Marmalade's song "Reflections of My Life" their own.
    canuck likes this.
  16. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Margaret Ann,
    There are many iconic songs that make me think immediately of Vietnam. None more so than Fortunate Son and Paint it Black, at least for me.
    Just across the river from you, here in Ontario, the Vietnam years were a completely different experience. I only knew one American veteran and he was dodging the call the do a second tour (wounds and all). All the other young Americans were draft dodgers living here in Canada until they could go back without facing charges. I probably met at least 20-25 of the estimated 40,000 who were here. I worked with several and they had interesting stories to tell.
    As it turned it, most of them stayed. By the time there was an amnesty in place they had lived here many years, were married, had kids or still resented the U.S. government.
    Margaret Ann likes this.
  17. toki2

    toki2 Junior Member

    I had a fleeting correspondence with an American soldier in Saigon after an appeal at my school to write and befriend. Over the years I have wondered if he survived. I will never forget the horror of seeing on tv the Vietcong captive being shot in the head. I suppose he was lucky in comparison to the suffering of others.
  18. Margaret Ann

    Margaret Ann Junior Member

    I believe the man who shot the Vietcong made his way to America and opened a restaurant.
  19. Margaret Ann

    Margaret Ann Junior Member

    I never had an opinion, one way or another, of the men who went to Canada or Sweden. I was a young woman living in London, England, during the late 1960's. I currently have an army son stationed in northern Virginia and he took me to the Vietnam War Memorial in DC at my request. What were some of the interesting stories the draft dodgers told you?
  20. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    The most interesting was from the man (cannot recall his name as it was over 40 yrs ago) who had served in Vietnam around 1967-1968 and lifted his shirt to display 3 distinct bullet wounds in the abdomen. Caused by a diminutive Viet Cong who ambushed him on a trail with an AK-47. Each fired simultaneously but the one round from the American was a fatal head shot.
    The rest simply recounted their journeys to Canada and most wanted to explain their opposition to the war. A common thread, as I recall, was how divisive their refusal to fight was within their families. I believe a few of them were permanently estranged, especially when military service was part of the family history. Time could have healed those wounds but it was the mid to late seventies when I met most of these guys.
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