In the spirit of Howard Zinn’s classic People’s History and The Nation’s own nearly 150-year history of highlighting the dissenters, rebels and truth-telling voices that have laid the foundations for the rights and freedoms we now take for granted, comes Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States.
By focusing on under-appreciated episodes which have been airbrushed out of standard history texts, this ambitious ten-part documentary series tells the behind-the-scenes stories that have shaped our country and the world as we know it today.
Narrated by filmmaker Stone, the new one-hour series in ten parts will feature critical events that at the time went largely under-reported—and are still far from common knowledge among Americans currently. Stone and co-author Peter Kuznick, a professor of History and director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University, have combed through the national archives of the United States, Soviet Union, England, Germany and Japan in search of photos, film and papers of events and historical figures both famous and unknown.
Topics range from President Harry Truman’s decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan to the origins and reasons for the cold war with the Soviet Union, and the fierce struggle between war and peace in America’s national security complex. New information about the Eisenhower and Kennedy administration; the Korean, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghan Wars; America’s role in the world since the fall of Communism; and largely unknown aspects of the war on terrorism will be featured.
Stone, who worked on this project for four years, sees his efforts as a corrective to the historical status quo: “This is the side of history we didn’t learn in school. Upsetting to some, but profound for those who think for themselves, from the outset I’ve looked at this project as a legacy to my children and a way to understand the times I’ve lived though. I hope it can contribute to a more global, broader insight into our history.”
I’ll be appearing on a panel about the series with Stone in New York City on Saturday, October 6. The series premieres on Showtime at 8 pm on Monday, November 12.