Ken Burns was on my show this afternoon to talk about his documentary “The War,” a 14-hour look at World War II which will air on PBS beginning September 23rd. Burns has once again taken a huge subject and humanized it, personalized it, by showing us The War through the eyes of the people of four American towns. Thanks to a DVD set PBS provided, I’ve watched several hours already, and I’m quite impressed.

We talked about getting WW2 veterans over their long-time reticence to speak about their war experiences, the emotional impact of what they’d been through, and what it was like for the Americans who helped liberate the concentration camps. One of the most striking parts of “The War” regards the shameful interment in this country of American cities of Japanese descent, and the previously untold story of how some of them were then sent into combat on the front lines. We also touched on the social changes at home with women going to work en masse, and how the war jump-started the US economy after the long post-Depression malaise.

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