Public History seminar
Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick
3 April 2013
The Untold History of the United States
Oliver Stone (wikipedia)

Oliver Stone (wikipedia)

Film director Oliver Stone and historian Peter Kuznick discuss their book and forthcoming television series.

The Untold History of the United States re-examines America’s financial, diplomatic and military influence on the long twentieth century to produce a polemical account of the rise and fall of the American Empire.

Oliver Stone begins by talking about how he and Peter Kuznick got together in the 1990s and which has now resulted in this current collaboration on this project to look at the Atomic bomb, the cold war, and United States history to the present day.  A massive hurdle that they had to overcome was to convince the government that the American people were ready to deal with the history of the Atomic bomb seriously and critically.  This book and television series is the result, offering an alternative and controversial look at the United States, and its role in history.

Questions asked and answered:

  1. How have peers in academia have responded to this project?
  2. Is this project a step into a new field for you, away from what you had done before?
  3. How do you balance in these popular formats the need to entertain with the complexity of the past?
  4. Does the panel ascribe to the belief of the new world order?
  5. How did you decide on what would be contained in each segment of the series?
  6. Are you really suggesting that Stalin had no interest in occupying Eastern Europe and Western Europe, and it was only because of the Atomic bomb that he did that?
  7. What evidence do you have the Harry Truman knew the evidence rather than having to make a hard political judgement?
  8. How do you think we should take this awareness of other versions of History to the youth of America?
  9. Were Wallace and Truman both searching for legitimisation of American capitalism?
  10. Production of a rewritten history – is this a new way of bringing the war home?
  11. The Atomic bomb was originally built with the Germans in mind, rather than the Japanese.  What affect does this have on the opinions you have put forward?
  12. What about the Latin American and the eastern aspects of the story.
  13. Is Obama a pivot of history?

To listen to this podcast click here.