DVD: 4-Disc set - Untold History of the United States

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As this information is quite dense, I highly recommended that you purchase the book also. Reading the book and following the DVD series helps with the mental organization and memory reinforcement. However, the book time line starts out in late 1800s and the DVD series starts out in the late 1920s Great Depression. The book also covers the widespread general American anger towards post WW1 war industry profiteering and Wall Street excesses that took place (surprise!) just before the great depression. The book is also heavily footnoted for further research or fact checking if desired.

As an avid reader from many sources, I attempt to form objective opinion based on facts. Many of the facts presented in this book and DVD series have caused me to largely re evaluate my thoughts on the FDR administration, the real reason for the double atomic bombing of Japan, the Truman Administration and the real root cause of Cold War with the Soviets. If you believe Ronald Regan should get the majority of the credit for bringing the Cold War to an end - see this and your opinion might change.

...Recently released, the book and DVD series continue up to the present administration, times and conflicts. The pace of the DVD series seems almost slow at the beginning...not unlike a roller coaster climbing the tallest point. At the top, the Kennedy assassination. Then the fast paced roller coaster ride begins....and continues at an ever increasing speed. In normal life, as events happen, they speed by and are replaced so quickly - resulting in nothing but a numbing blur. Newspapers are vanishing, daily TV analysis is so poor and internet analysis is so unreliable, that it takes a book and DVD series such as this, some developed critical thinking and reflection to process important events. Many contemporary surprises await viewers and readers - to remember important details that you either never knew, or had forgotten. These important details are the bits of information that connect smaller to larger events and form a more complete overall analysis.

Oliver Stone fans: you will notice bits of musical scores of his other fine works inserted appropriately along with his narration. If you haven't already, visit Oliver Stone's Wiki page and you will understand this filmmaker's background and political views much better.

As this series exposes our past and present ever-growing Military-Industrial Complex, it must be viewed objectively and with a truly open mind. You will find yourself either enlightened and/or possibly angry after viewing (see 1 star reviews). Much of this information is of a disquieting nature. But if you honestly seek truth, you will view this series more than once. I am now the second time through the book and the DVD series. There are a few points made of which you might disagree. I did and you are free to do the same. In really old western movies, the good guys and the bad guys are easily identified by the color of their hats. The bad guys (black hats) were 100% bad and the good guys (white hats) 100% good - if the real world was only that simple. In reality, the world seldom operates in terms of true absolutes. It's the details that determine the actual shade of grey.
Real history must be learned or the same "mistakes" (or enterprises) are repeated." - Joe, Illinois

• This documentary series woke me up so much that I started to do research on my own about all of these subjects and made me question all the things I learned in school. It's shocking but it's the kind of shock we all need to see to wake this country up! I highly recommend this item. - Richard B. Rosas

• Our family is usually skeptical about "the history" of any event, country, or person. After watching this series on Showtime, my son who is a History Teacher (he shared with us about being skeptical until you research it and locate the facts vs. fictions or flat out lies) decided to obtain more information using FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) as he was a FOIA Coordinator for the Federal Government before moving on to become a Teacher at a major University. He located all the information that Mr. Stone put forth and we all read for ourselves just how accurate this series is. This is why I (we) gave it a 5-star rating. I have no political views regarding this series, just wanted to verify the facts. I have no desire to argue politics or some ideology. Wish they had taught this in our history courses when we were young. This is very much well worth watching or reading. - Skynet2029

Oliver Stone has made a series that should be watched by every American. He's not afraid to explore the dark underbellies of all the sacred cows we've cherished. I watched the episodes multiple times because they are so packed with accurate, verifiable information that I was afraid I might miss something. Should be required watching by young people to assist in fully educating them and preparing them for their roles as they approach voting age. I plan to purchase this for my son and his family as a Christmas gift, also, in order that my granddaughter may watch it. - C. Wood

• American history! Whose heart doesn't race when you remember being initiated into its excitement and mystery in high school? There's the Logan Act of 1799! And the presidency of Benjamin Harrison! And the Open Door Policy. And, uh, and the Fordney-McCumber Tariff of 1922...and "A Return to Normalcy"... and the Federal Aid Highway Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzptsphttzzzz.

Almost everyone in high school hates history, and they should. Just 7% of U.S. students say history is their favorite subject, and considering how schools grind American history into mush, it's amazing the number's that high. It's like 7% said their favorite food is unflavored semolina.

Schools accomplish this with one simple technique: leaving out every single thing about U.S. history that's interesting. In high school history classes there's never been any conflict in America - and no one filled with greed, or hate, or lust for power. In other words, no recognizable human beings. Everyone always wanted the best for everybody in the best of all possible worlds. It's been 236 years of interchangeable robots singing "America the Beautiful."

It's obvious why schools have to do this - real history is dangerous. If the people in charge 50 years ago were horribly flawed, students might consider the possibility that the ones in charge now are too. But all people, especially the kind that spend their lives seeking power, are horribly flawed, and its their flaws that make them human and interesting. So schools know they're being constantly monitored by the people currently at the top of the pyramid in case they slip up and accidentally let something interesting into the curriculum. (This is really no exaggeration - while Dick Cheney was doing horrible things in the present, his wife Lynne was constantly on guard against students finding out about horrible things U.S. leaders did in the past.*)

Young Americans have understandably responded to this with massive passive resistance, refusing to learn anything at all about the past. And that's fine with the people running things. Their first choice would be to have kids opening each school day with a hymn to the Rockefellers and ExxonMobil, but failing that they'd rather students know nothing. If kids knew how and why George W. Bush invaded Iraq in 2003, they might ask questions in 2031 when George P. Bush invades Iceland.
That's why you're not going to see a glowing review of Oliver Stone's new book and 10-part Showtime series, The Untold History of the United States, in the New York Times anytime soon. It's just too interesting. Stone, together with the historian Peter Kuznick, has taken almost everything compelling about the last seventy years of American foreign policy and put it all in one place.

I'd recommend both to anyone, but it's probably easier for non-obsessives to begin with the TV show, which starts tonight and continues with a new episode each Monday. For a sense of what you'll get, here are the most important points of the first two shows - all of which would surprise most Americans, and some of which would be surprising for almost anyone:Mbr>
* The United States played a minor role in winning World War II. The country that beat Hitler is the Soviet Union, and they paid a far greater price than anyone else. 20-30 million Russians died, and more were killed during both the Battle of Kiev and the Siege of Stalingrad than the U.S. lost in the entire war. You don't have to love Joseph Stalin and gulags to understand why this would make the Soviets extremely anxious after VE day to control a buffer zone between themselves and Germany.

Sophisticated adults - like the Los Angeles Times - scoff at the idea that this is "untold" history, but I guarantee you almost no one in the U.S. knows anything about it.

• This is covered in more depth in the book version of Untold History, but the first TV episodes do touch on how, before the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the Soviets desperately tried to make an alliance with the U.S., Great Britain or France against Nazi Germany. This never happened largely because the corporate right in all three countries openly sympathized with fascism from the beginning; for instance, General Motors, Firestone and Texaco sent help to Franco during the Spanish Civil War.

* Roosevelt used the U.K.'s desperation as leverage to knock many of the pillars out from under the British empire. The show quotes Roosevelt telling his son, "British bankers and German bankers have had world trade pretty well sewn up in their pockets for a long time...America won't help England in this war simply so that she will be able to continue to ride roughshod over colonial peoples." Of course, since Roosevelt died before the war ended, we'll never know how much of this was due to principle on his part and how much to a desire to see the U.S. take the British Empire's place.

* Most importantly, Untold History focuses on how closely Henry Wallace came to becoming president, and how differently history might have turned out if he had. If you don't know much about Wallace (I didn't), just imagine Dennis Kucinich running the United States. But instead Wallace was pushed out at the 1944 Democratic convention after serving as vice president for four years, and we got Harry Truman, Hiroshima and the Cold War.
The show especially shines here, digging up a truly amazing 1940 letter from Roosevelt, in which he threatened not to run again if conservative Democrats blocked his wish to have Wallace join him on the ticket. Read it all - it sounds like it was written by an angry left-wing blogger, except it's actually by the greatest president in the history of the United States.
And as you'll see, there's much, much more to come. Tune in and get the book, both for yourself and for any high school history teachers you know who are independently wealthy and won't mind getting fired.

*In fairness to Dick and Lynne, this dynamic works the same in every country. According to Anne Elizabeth Moore, a journalist who's spent a lot of time in Cambodia, most younger Cambodians have no idea there ever was such a thing as the Khmer Rouge. - Jonathan Schwarz

• "History is a lie agreed upon...History is written by the elite and the winners of War". These often quoted phrases or variations thereof (as just stated) is what is at the heart of this riveting and deep dissension piece.

The "facts" or the "truth" can often times be opinions or guesses, as pointed out by the series, there is much we aren't readily aware of because of the, willful or not, misconstrued presentation of events. What is routinely accepted as the "way things were" is forever tainted, misinformation, disinformation, myth-information, slanted, withheld, covered-up, politically correct, unknown, and simply much of it is ethnocentric to say the least.

What's refreshing in this 10 hour mini-series is that it can inspire inquiry and rebooted thought. Not revisionism, but a re-visitation and educational path toward illumination and possibly in some cases enlightenment. There never is one side to any story and reflection, curiosity, and interest in events that shaped our world can never be a bad thing. Except, maybe, for those who benefit from the status quo. - Leon Louis Ricci

• First off, I had not learned in my most recent 10 years of formal education even half of what I've learned after watching this series.

If you have many times got confused, felt something missing, frustrated by concealed fallacies after reading numerous texts on recent history, then you'll be relieved by Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick's Untold History of the US. Some say there's nothing untold here, which may be true, but it's never been told in such compact, coherent, true way and void of propaganda. It helps you connect many dots, backed by real archives of footage, articles, papers, interviews, etc.

This is not just about the US, it's about the world. Don't miss it. - Nuri Sev