Oliver Stone's American 'History' docu-series should be labeled comedy

Perhaps "black comedy" as this review in Bloomberg makes clear:

Narrating over old newsreel footage and archival photos, the sonorous Stone recites a detail-packed leftist history, disputing notions of American exceptionalism.

Written by Stone and American University professor Peter Kuznick, "Untold" bloats with details from the duo's 700-plus- page companion tome. It's like watching an audio book.

The four hour-long episodes available for review span World War II through the early years of the Cold War.

Recounting the minutiae of wartime pacts, political maneuvering and battlefield victories, Stone challenges, for example, the claim that "Americans won World War II."

The Soviet Union, he says, was the deciding combatant. But does anyone really claim that the U.S. single-handedly defeated the Axis powers?

Straw man arguments are as plentiful here as claims to originality. Indictments of empire-building and American militarism might not be common in grade-school history classes, but Howard Zinn's oeuvre is only an Amazon click away.

I wonder if Stone will include the small detail that Uncle Joe Stalin was fighting with massive amounts of American equipment and supplies?

Other topics taken up by Stone include the decision to drop the bomb on Japan -- no need to guess where he comes down on that one. But I am especially curious to see whether he actually comes out in  public and praises the Soviets as superior to America.

No doubt Stone's effort would be as boring to anyone interested in American history as a documentary made by some relentlessly upbeat conservative who thinks America is perfect and can do no wrong. We're all adults and can handle the truth of our history - the good, the bad, the ugly, and the sublime. If Stone could have stuck with that, his obvious talents as a film maker would have made the series worthy of watching.

As it is, even though it might be worth a few laughs, I'll pass.


Perhaps "black comedy" as this review in Bloomberg makes clear:

Narrating over old newsreel footage and archival photos, the sonorous Stone recites a detail-packed leftist history, disputing notions of American exceptionalism.

Written by Stone and American University professor Peter Kuznick, "Untold" bloats with details from the duo's 700-plus- page companion tome. It's like watching an audio book.

The four hour-long episodes available for review span World War II through the early years of the Cold War.

Recounting the minutiae of wartime pacts, political maneuvering and battlefield victories, Stone challenges, for example, the claim that "Americans won World War II."

The Soviet Union, he says, was the deciding combatant. But does anyone really claim that the U.S. single-handedly defeated the Axis powers?

Straw man arguments are as plentiful here as claims to originality. Indictments of empire-building and American militarism might not be common in grade-school history classes, but Howard Zinn's oeuvre is only an Amazon click away.

I wonder if Stone will include the small detail that Uncle Joe Stalin was fighting with massive amounts of American equipment and supplies?

Other topics taken up by Stone include the decision to drop the bomb on Japan -- no need to guess where he comes down on that one. But I am especially curious to see whether he actually comes out in  public and praises the Soviets as superior to America.

No doubt Stone's effort would be as boring to anyone interested in American history as a documentary made by some relentlessly upbeat conservative who thinks America is perfect and can do no wrong. We're all adults and can handle the truth of our history - the good, the bad, the ugly, and the sublime. If Stone could have stuck with that, his obvious talents as a film maker would have made the series worthy of watching.

As it is, even though it might be worth a few laughs, I'll pass.


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