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“The Vietnam War” and a Season of Topical Public Programming at Hunter’s Roosevelt House

The Vietnam War: An Intimate History, the recent Ken Burns-Lynn Novick documentary, has been hailed as a staggering achievement. On September 25, Hunter welcomed one of the co-creators of the project, Geoffrey C. Ward, eminent historian and long-time collaborator with Burns, to the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute for a conversation with Harold Holzer, the Jonathan F. Fanton Director of Roosevelt House. Ward wrote the screenplay for the sweeping 10-part, 18-hour series and authored its 640-page companion book.
Describing the project’s conception, Ward said the goal of The Vietnam War was to “create a new narrative,” an authoritative and painstakingly-detailed chronicle of one of the 20th Century’s defining conflicts, adding that in all his 32-year creative partnership with Burns, “I’ve never worked as hard.”  Much of the evening’s discussion centered on examining the immense interest the series has generated. “We as a country,” Holzer summarized, “are having a battle about historical memory.”
Even among event audience members, the emotionally charged nature of the subject matter was evident, with a former war correspondent, a combat veteran, and a diplomat, all posing questions to Ward and offering their own wartime recollections.

The event marked Ward’s latest appearance at Roosevelt House, having visited in 2014 alongside Burns for the premiere of their PBS documentary, The Roosevelts. Since then, in an article in The Telegraph, Burns named Roosevelt House as being among his ten favorite spots in New York.

Similar to the public service performed by The Vietnam War, Roosevelt House, in its fall lineup of public programming, is engaging head-on with today’s most intensely-debated issues. This season will bring expert voices to bear on a variety of pressing contemporary issues, including hate speech, immigrant justice, Civil War memory and historical iconography, federal science funding, and more. 
For a full list of upcoming programs at Roosevelt House, please visit: 

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