Critically acclaimed director Oliver Stone is now the co-author of a controversial new history book entitled, “The Untold History of the United States.” In it, he covers what he considers “ignored” stories of the nation’s past. The book releases in tandem with a new 10-part Showtime documentary series, which premiers this week.
Stone joins Soledad O’Brien on “Starting Point” to talk about the importance of understanding the country's history.
Stone describes the rationale behind the title of the series. “It could have been called the ‘Ignored History’,” Stone says. “This stuff was at points in the newspapers, or sometimes in the headlines even. But it’s been somewhat forgotten.”
Stone says scholars at the college level and historians have knowledge of the stories he’s highlighted, “but it’s not in the general consensus in the high school level.”
Stone feels history is glossed over in textbooks after World War II, where his book begins.
“The dropping of the atomic bomb is very much the origin myth, you know, that we get in school. We had to drop the bomb to save American lives because the Japanese were fanatics and would fight to the end. We show, in the course of the chapters, how the Japanese were finished...and how the Soviets had come into the war and were cleaning up the Japanese army.” Stone says “there was no necessity to drop the bomb, but it was dropped to warn the Russians, and that starts basically this Cold War conflict that dominates our lives and dominates our national security structure.”
Stone thinks Americans need to educate themselves with the facts and aims the documentary series at American youth. “If we can understand where we came from, we can understand where we are now,” Stone says.