I am pleased to discover that HBO Films is delving yet again into historical subject matter. In fact, they are quickly replacing the (former) History Channel as far as high quality productions about the past go. HBO's most recent documentary, entitled Wartorn: 1861-2010 explores the vitally significant but greatly understudied topic of depression, hysteria, and post-traumatic stress throughout America's wars beginning with the American Civil War. Presented and produced by James Gandolfini of The Sopranos fame, the film includes interviews by historians, generals, and individual military personnel who have gone through or are still coping with the psychological blows of warfare. According to an NPR article discussing the film, "Top military leaders are now addressing the lingering effects of post-traumatic stress disorder, (PTSD) which were ignored for many years because they were seen as a sign of weakness. Last week, Gen. George Casey, the chief of staff of the U.S. Army, called PTSD 'the defining military health issue of our era.'" Wars change throughout the ages, yet the common exertions and mental limits rarely do. This important film premiers on HBO at 9 p.m. EST on Veterans Day. Included below are two videos, the first being the trailer for the film and the second being a thirty minute panel discussion at the Pentagon talking of the ongoing struggles to help veterans dealing with PTSD. If you or anybody you know suffers from this condition, please visit here.
Panel Discussion at the Pentagon.