A still from the documentary series "Oliver Stone's Untold History...

A still from the documentary series "Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States". On August 6, 1945, an Atomic Bomb "Little Boy" was detonated in Hiroshima, Japan, pictured here are its victims. Credit: National Archives and Records Ad

THE SERIES "Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States"

WHEN | WHERE Monday night at 8 on Showtime

WHAT IT'S ABOUT This 10-part series is a companion to the recent book by Oliver Stone ("JFK," "Platoon") and Peter Kuznick, professor of history and director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University. As Stone explains, "We live in a fog, and I would like my children to look beyond what I call the tyranny of now."

MY SAY "Untold History" is an odd duck. The idea here is to offer a counterweight to the triumphalism that has periodically colored the telling of American history. But what you get instead -- at least on Monday night -- is a largely straightforward, and leaden, retelling of World War II. You keep waiting for a fresh insight, a new twist, a bizarre fact and after a while would even be profoundly grateful for some wacky Stone revisionism. It never comes. What's "untold" here? Pretty much nothing. (Caveat emptor: There are nine other hours; I sampled but one.) By far the most interesting part of "Untold" is the visual presentation. Stone has cobbled together a mother lode of chestnuts, including grainy newsreel footage and Soviet propaganda films. It's all weirdly engrossing.



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