The Guns of August
1965

I enjoy Barbara Tuchmanís books and am sad that we wonít be getting any more from her, but this documentary-version of her book The Guns of August teeters between being a good 100-minute video condensation of the text and being a tacky paste-up job complete with bad accents on the quotations.

That comment aside, I can say that this video is both valuable and reprehensible: as a Tuchman history work I canít rate it, as Iíve not read the book itself yet and therefore cannot say whether this is a faithful representation of it or not, but certainly Tuchmanís work didnít quote international statesmen with phonetic spelling to exaggerate nationalistic stereotypical accents such as are employed in this production to its full discredit; the other major fault of this video (again, not necessarily of Tuchmanís book) is a rampant judgemental hindsightÖand sometime the judgemental tone is downright bigoted, as quick to generalize Them and Us as was the press coverage of the day, which is unfortunate to say the least. (Why do I have it in my collection if Iím so ready to trash it? Because it has scads of documentary film footage, mostly all-too-fleeting, to illuminate many otherwise too-distant parts of the story.)


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