Comments on the PBS series from a variety of individuals.
There is a glaring error in segment 5. While discussing the rise of president Ngo Dinh Diem, narrator says, as I recall "There has never been a separate, southern government of Vietnam." Anyone who knows even the most elementary stuff about the history of Vietnam knows that, starting in 1558, the southern, Nguyen, dynasty was established in direct conflict with the Trinh dynasty in the north, and that they fought each other more or less regularly, from 1600 until 1800, and that the southern regime actually became a dynamic and wealthy state, completely overwhelming the Trinh dynasty in the North. Else what the hell was Hue about? It's so obvious I surely don't need to cite sources, eh? The error is not trivial, it must surely be celebrated by the current regime in Hanoi, which seeks to downplay any and all accomplishments by the southern Nguyen dynasty whenever possible.
Donald E. Voth, Ph. D.
Professor of Rural Sociology, Emeritus
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
4323 Balcon Ct., NW
Albuquerque, NM 87120
While I found the series quite positive in terms of the unique Vietnamese war footage included demonstrating that Ken Burns & Co. had gone to some lengths to include it, I found the section about the Tonkin Gulf incident severely thin and did not even mention that official U.S. government documents prove that the incident was not caused by Vietnamese navy vessel/s shooting at the American ship, a fact hidden and kept secret for many years. Rather, the incident was the basis for the Tonkin Gulf Resolution which launched the war that lasted for three decades, resulting in the deaths of some millions of Vietnamese, 58,00 U.S. servicemen killed, and the lingering effects of Agent Orange in both countries.
the highly toxic Agent Orange and Agent Blue.
I thought I was over Vietnam 40 years ago, although I've known America is never "over Vietnam" as Ken Burns relates in his comprehensive 10-part, 18-hour PBS series on the war.
"Winning the Hearts and Minds of the People!"
As a veteran and anti-war activist since 1964, viewing most of Ken Burn’s documentary The Vietnam War I am worried not so much about the content or quality of the film, but about its long term effect on the public’s understanding and acceptance of the current and future such wars.
Is there any question whether this film’s effect will agree with the Pentagon’s view or be counter to it and even if it helps to educate the public? How effectively it builds support or opposition to ongoing wars will be the major test of this film series.