The Americans enter World War II after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
A good start of the series, mostly true to what Burns said he was going to do - let the people (both combatants and those at home) who went through it tell the story. And there are a number of differences in format from Burns' "The Civil War" - no one musical theme dominates, the narrative telling of events is reduced and there is a lot more of a sense of American culture and personal attitudes here. There is still plenty of the interesting detail in "The War" but a good bit of the possible causes and analysis are missing. No historians are used. In some cases, newsreels substitute for history, but they can't always make up for the info that is now known, especially the depth of America's unpreparedness. On the other hand, they lend a sense of the period. There is a lot to like and I have always had an avid interest, but I miss a bit of the explanatory context here. The conclusion is very powerful, as a former US Marine commando in the brutal battle for the Philippines tells of how affecting it was to wish a man dead because he was crying out in pain through the night - only to realize the next day that the man was one of his best friends - and then a "fade to black" with no music, no words, no credits. Maybe not as emotional as Sullivan Ballou's letter to his wife in the finale of the first episode of "The Civil War" but gripping in its own way. Different, but well-done.moreless
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