Show #894 Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks has been covered a few times but I've not heard mention of Forrest Gump. 

I encourage people to view McNamara's Folly, presented by author Hamilton Gregory.

Gregory talks about the impact of fulfilling quotas by sending low IQ troops to Vietnam. What a contrast to Hanks' feelgood movie.

After this, Forrest Gump just looks like PR for the Department of Defense. It appears many of Hanks movies create a false impression of US history.


  • I was also interested to hear Jim's comments about Stephen Ambrose (adviser for some Hanks movies) and his change of position with respect to "Other Losses" by James Bacque partly because I'd read Bacque's Crimes and Mercies which was a follow-up to Other Losses.

    On the topic of nation's controlling their own history and narrative Richard Aldrich's "The Hidden Hand" has some excellent information, such as that Joint Intelligence Committee (UK) was considering how historians might report on the use of special intelligence (e.g. Enigma) and how that might feed into a narrative that Germany had been cheated into losing WW2.

    Aldrich: "There was nothing for it but to 'indoctrinate' some historians into the secret and ask them to work with the authorities on official accounts in order to disguise it." There was no information in the public domain until 1972.

    Would the USA also be managing its country's history and narratives?

    And the obscuring of the Soviet role in WW2 which Jim talked about has become more thorough recently: honest discussion of history may be incompatible with the Cold War 2 which some are working towards.


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