Auditorium Theatre Hosts Preview of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s THE VIETNAM WAR A DOCUMENTARY Review – no single truth in war.

THE VIETNAM WAR: A DOCUMENTARY Preview Review - There is no single truth in war
Photo courtesy of WTTW

The Auditorium Theatre at Roosevelt University hosted the preview of the documentary with the two producers, Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, in attendance. It was clear from their speaking and answering questions that the passion driving the project had been the desire to lay bare the war in order to tell a fuller story than has ever been done before.

There Is No Single Truth in War

This statement --There is No Single Truth in War--is a sad corollary to the words of the Greek writer Aeschylus (525 B.C.E. – 456 B.C.E.). However, on the positive side, the co-producers of THE VIETNAM WAR present the first as-objective-as-possible study of the American “Thirty Years War”. This documentary chronicles the conflict from 1945-1975, though it references the centuries-old roots of the issues and brings the present to bear on this tragic past. Through news footage, music, interviews and archival research, Burns and Novick shed a different light on this divisive and dramatic chapter of history.

THE VIETNAM WAR: A DOCUMENTARY Preview Review - There is no single truth in war
Photo courtesy of WTTW

Auditorium Theatre reopens THE VIETNAM WAR: A DOCUMENTARY

All aspects of this once “Speak No Evil” topic is explored. Men and women who once served in the North or South Vietnamese or American armed forces or were members of the Viet Cong or served in the South Vietnamese government or were active in the Anti-War/Peace Movements in the United States and overseas are given equal footing, as well as time to tell of the war from their unique perspectives. The documentary steers away from an “Us” and “Them” or a “Good versus Evil” game from the Cold War Era. All voices are heard and all experiences are honored in the retelling of this story “for the first time.”

THE VIETNAM WAR: A DOCUMENTARY promises to be thought-provoking even as it will stir the viewer to anger, joy, sadness, hope and closure. Snippets from each of the episodes gave the audience a peak at goals of the project, the enormity of its focus.

It’s a timely work, with almost half a century having elapsed since its end; and it can be used as a reference point for our own political, social and cultural scene both in this country and around the world. Faced as we are with hyper-emotionalism in almost every contemporary issue, plagued as we are with politicians looking only toward the next sound bite or upcoming election, we need tutoring in the ways of objectivity. Burns and Novick provide us with an example that should last for a very long time.

THE VIETNAM WAR: A DOCUMENTARY Preview Review - There is no single truth in war
Photo courtesy of WTTW

The tragedy of war is a Hydra, a multi-headed monster that digs its claws into human flesh, sinks its teeth into our psyches and perpetuates itself, convincing our species that we are geared for aggression and fratricide – something Burns points out not one other species on the planet does. We have a rational capacity that no other creature on earth has and that should temper this seemingly innate hatred we bear for each other. This 10-part, 18-hour documentary marks a turning point in historical research and facing ourselves more honestly.


Sunday, September 17th at 7:00 P.M.
Monday-Thursday, September 18th – 21st at 8:00 P.M.

Sunday, September 24th at 7:00 P.M.
Monday-Thursday, September 25th – 28th at 8:00 P.M.


WTTW, Channel 11

Visit WTTW online for more information.

Photo: Nathanael Filbert

Joseph Anthony Rulli is a transplanted Hoosier, living in Chicago since the fall of 2006. A 1987 graduate of the University of Notre Dame (BA, History) and a 1992 graduate of St. Meinrad School of Theology (MDiv) he taught Social Studies, Religion, Philosophy and History at the high school level. He began writing as a career upon his arrival to his second city and has had two short stories published, a stage play performed, an electronic tour book published online and The Chicago Haymarket Affair (History Press/Arcadia Publishing, 2016) his first print book.

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