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Key Battles of American History

with James Early

Key Battles of American History Episodes
The Bridge on the River Kwai
June 29, 2022 - 76 min
One of the most critically acclaimed films of all time, The Bridge on the River Kwai tells a fictionalized account of the building of part of the Burma-Siam railroad by Allied prisoners of war. Join Sean and James as they tell the fascinating “story behind the story” as well as discuss the film’s background and the relationship of the story told in the film to the real events.
Hacksaw Ridge
June 22, 2022 - 84 min
Born in Virginia, Desmond Doss was a devout Christian and a pacifist who wanted to serve in the war as a combat medic but refused to touch a weapon. After suffering much shame and ill-treatment from his fellow soldiers, Doss proved his heroism in several engagements, most notably in the Battle of Okinawa, in which he saved around 75 wounded American soldiers from being executed by the Japanese. In this episode, James and Sean discuss the 2016 film Hacksaw Ridge, which tells the story of Doss’s life and service in the war.
Letters From Iwo Jima
June 15, 2022 - 75 min
The companion film to Flags of Our Fathers, Clint Eastwood’s Letters from Iwo Jima narrates the story of the Battle of Iwo Jima from the Japanese perspective. In this episode, you will join James and Sean as they walk the beaches of Iwo Jima and go deep into the caves and tunnels of Mt. Suribachi with the Japanese defenders as they await the American onslaught and struggle with the decision of whether to fight to the death or surrender at the risk of being hated (or worse) by their colleagues and their families back home.
Flags of Our Fathers
June 08, 2022 - 90 min
One of the most iconic photographs of all time is the famous Joe Rosenthal photo of the raising of the American flag on Mount Suribachi in the southwest corner of Iwo Jima. In Flags of Our Fathers, director Clint Eastwood weaves together the story of the American invasion of Iwo Jima and the struggle to capture Suribachi with the subsequent tale of three of the flag raisers who were sent back to the States to raise money for the war. The movie, while inspiring, can be a bit hard to follow, but James and Sean will guide you through it and help you sort out fact from fiction.
Sands of Iwo Jima
June 01, 2022 - 58 min
The Battle of Iwo Jima was one of the bloodiest battles of the Pacific Theater for both the Japanese and the Americans. James and Sean will be discussing three movies about Iwo Jima, the first of which is the classic 1949 John Wayne action film Sands of Iwo Jima. Despite its title, Sands of Iwo Jima only devotes 30 minutes to the battle; the rest of the movie shows the Battle of Tarawa, as well as scenes of the Marines training and enjoying liberty. Is Sands of Iwo Jima accurate, or is it just patriotic Hollywood propaganda? James and Sean will let you know!
Bonus Episode - History Unplugged
May 28, 2022 - 25 min
Grave of the Fireflies
May 25, 2022 - 56 min
In this episode, James and Sean completely change gears, discussing the 1988 Japanese animated Studio Ghibli film Grave of the Fireflies, which tells the story of a young boy and his little sister who struggle to stay alive during the Allied firebombings of Japan that occurred in the last few months of the war. Grave of the Fireflies is a sad, hard-to-watch movie, but it is a must see for those who want to know what life was like for Japanese civilians in the final stages of World War II.
May 18, 2022 - 66 min
In early 1942, the US Marine Corps began recruiting young Navajo men to serve as “codetalkers” who would transmit orders via radio using a code based on the Navajo language. The code was inscrutable to the Japanese, who were never able to crack it. John Woo’s 2002 film Windtalkers tells a slightly fictionalized version of their story. As usual, James and Sean attempt to sort through the Hollywood embellishments to tell the history behind the movie.
Run Silent, Run Deep
May 11, 2022 - 52 min
Based loosely on the 1955 novel of the same name, Run Silent, Run Deep tells the story of a submarine captain who disobeys orders in an attempt to get revenge against a Japanese destroyer that sank his previous command. In this episode, James and Sean share their thoughts about this exciting action film.
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