Ken Burns' Vietnam

So that's it. All over, just like that. A mere ten hours of compulsive watching, and we've done the Vietnam war. I remember, way back, watching the Ken Burns series on the American Civil War. A bit solemn, but so patient, and with wonderful photographs. The jazz was similarly good to look at, though a bit more controversial in terms of what he did and didn't cover, what kind of look-in contemporary music got. But Vietnam is safely distant in one sense, although - as the programme showed - in some cases the wounds still linger on. But the detail and the photos were stunning, and they've assembled an amazing array of witnesses - Americans, South Vietnamese, North Vietnamese, first hand accounts of what went on, from a range of angles. There is a sad, wise recognition that american exceptionalism has been a hugely expensive curse for the whole planet, let alone America, but although that wouldn't got down well in the White House for the rest of us it's long overdue. It's moving to watch people grow over the length of the war - how a loyal marine gradually becomes a vet against the war, and then witnesses John Kerry's astonishing testimony to congress about what the war has cost. Plus, of course, the astonishing soundtrack. We always said there was no time like the sixties, and here's the proof.