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The Veneer of Civilization (June 1968-May 1969) 

Draft-age Americans wrestle with their choices. Richard Nixon narrowly wins the presidential election. Soldiers on all sides of the conflict witness savagery and courage.


Ken Burns, Lynn Novick




Episode credited cast:
Peter Coyote ... Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Creighton Williams Abrams Creighton Williams Abrams ... Himself - Commanding General in S. Vietnam (archive footage)
Spiro Agnew ... Himself - Governor of Maryland (archive footage)
Nguyen Nguyen Anh Nguyen Nguyen Anh ... Herself - North Vietnamese Army
Anne Harrison Bowman Anne Harrison Bowman ... Herself
David Brinkley ... Himself - NBC News (archive footage)
Phil Caputo ... Himself - Journalist (as Philip Caputo)
Max Cleland ... Himself - Army
Clark Clifford Clark Clifford ... Himself - Secretary of Defence (archive footage)
Carol Crocker Carol Crocker ... Herself
Walter Cronkite ... Himself - Anchorman CBS (archive footage)
Rennie Davis ... Himself - Antiwar Activist (archive footage)
Le Duan Le Duan ... Himself - New Leader of N. Vietnam (archive footage)
Huy Duc Huy Duc ... Himself - N. Vietnam
Julian Ewell Julian Ewell ... Himself - Commander of the 9th Infantery Devision (archive footage) (as Julian J. Ewell)


Draft-age Americans wrestle with their choices. Richard Nixon narrowly wins the presidential election. Soldiers on all sides of the conflict witness savagery and courage.

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English | Vietnamese

Release Date:

25 September 2017 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Florentine Films See more »
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Technical Specs


Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


References Spartacus (1960) See more »


For What It's Worth
Written by Stephen Stills
Used by Permission of Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
Performed by Buffalo Springfield
Courtesy of Elektra Entertainment Group
By arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing
See more »

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User Reviews

It's easier to stay out than get out
1 October 2017 | by cordenwSee all my reviews

Talk about "truth is the first casualty"! Nixon lies directly to LBJ , LBJ knows he's lying and yet is perfectly civil to him over the phone. Can you imagine Donald Trump being that circumspect in a similar situation? So which one's the better man,the liar,the listener or the blunderbuss?

The dirty, stinking lying backroom boys will do or say anything to either remain in power or grab power.

We have LBJ complaining about the lying press (when in fact this time they were telling the truth) and we have Nixon trying to scuttle any deal by contacting the South Vietnamese in a way that could be considered treason. No matter who you vote for .. the Government gets in.

Another brilliant episode highlighting the futility of it all and how difficult it is becoming to extricate the Nation from the quagmire it's trapped in.

There is a sense that the end is nigh but when you see the scenes from the city of Saigon itself it's easy to understand why many of the economic beneficiaries didn't want it to end... They were making so much dough from the whole enterprise and there's no such thing as "enough" for greedy people!

How much more can the people take? In today's world it would be over as soon as the iphone battery ran out.

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