A strange history of Vietnam: The history of the Vietnam War through film



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Texas Tech University


History is being taught by film and as a result many people obtain an "Impression" of history and learn incomplete or in some cases biased history. This is especially true for the Vietnam War, where war films have been used to create a form of history termed "Impressionist history." This historical theory is explained in the context of a two other contemporary historical phenomena called epimethianism and reflectivity. Epimethian history occurs when the historian, who in this work is generally the filmmaker, applies contemporary values and ideas to the past. Reflectivity is a property of historical documents and narratives, including films that describe the degree to which the historian or filmmaker has inserted epimethianism into their analysis of the past. This work tells the history of the Vietnam War through selected films. It then deconstructs each film according to historical accuracy, epimethianism, and reflectivity.



Stone, Oliver, Apocalypse Now (film), Full Metal Jacket (film), War