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Progress of War 

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Despite all our advances, humans keep inventing terrible new ways to kill each other. What if the same thing that gave us civilization also led to an unending cycle of violence? We learned ... See full summary »

Director:

Celso R. García

Writers:

Sara Mast (teleplay by), Erik Nelson (story by)
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Cast

Episode credited cast:
Zach Ball ... Viking
Jeremy Boado ... Eunuch 1
Kai Luke Brummer ... Soldier
Leon Clingman ... Paul Galasso
Russell Crous Russell Crous ... Henry Gunther
Chris Fisher ... Sapian / Strong Hunter
Melissa Haiden ... Strong Hunter's Mate
John Hedgecoth ... Barbarian
Dan Hirst ... German Sniper
Chad Joyce ... Viking King
Greg Kriek ... Ulrich
Nathan Lynn ... Ryder Office Worker
Mark Monroe ... Narrator
Kiroshan Naidoo ... Rameez Yousef
Rameez Nordien Rameez Nordien ... Eyad Ismoil
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Storyline

Despite all our advances, humans keep inventing terrible new ways to kill each other. What if the same thing that gave us civilization also led to an unending cycle of violence? We learned to work together, and we learned to fight together. Much of our technology was created to fight wars. For all its evils, war is the origin of the modern world.

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Plot Keywords:

reenactment | See All (1) »

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

TV-14
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 April 2017 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Asylum Entertainment See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color
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User Reviews

 
Hijacked By Your Amygdala.
11 April 2017 | by rmax304823See all my reviews

Jason Silva is the host in this diachronic examination of warfare. A handful of experts contribute their reading of the delicate art of mass murder. There are three somewhat lengthy reenactments, one of a small prehistoric raid, another of a morose Genghis Khan mulling over his next move. They were unnecessary.

I suppose the historical layout is roughly accurate. Certainly bronze swords were an improvement over such crude instruments as bludgeons. But some questionable assumptions were made in the host's presentation. The first tactic used in warfare was the ambush. Well, how the hell do the writers know that? Nobody else does. It was the favorite tactic of the head-hunting Jivaro in the Amazon basin -- but in Europe 20,000 years ago? And then they come up with the idea that metal helmets protected the combatants' heads. Okay, but it's stretching it to claim that only the wealthy could afford metal helmets to protect their skulls and this led to social stratification.

We learn that in World War I, the machine gun rendered obsolete the gallant bayonet charge. The machine gun simply mowed them down. But the broader point is that attack is more dangerous than defence. That lesson was learned during the American Civil War, with the introduction of new technology like rifled firearms replacing the inaccurate musket. The rifle had greater range and accuracy than the musket, which was appropriate to Napoleon's battles, which required the attackers to form massed ranks. Easy targets for riflemen. The rifle was to the Civil War what the machine gun was to World War I. The Civil War ended around Petersberg with trench warfare, just as World War I did, but the lessons of the Civil War hadn't been learned.

And so forth through the quick historical presentation, ending with the host claiming that war actually has some good results in that it exposes armies to different cultures. This is at least partially right. The Crusades brought classical learning back to Europe from the Middle East, where Muslims had been copying and cultivating it. I wonder if trade would have done as well -- or tourism!

It's not a total loss but the host, Jason Silvera, overacts. He puts everything he has into each utterance. "The WAR fought by the MONGOLS was DIFFERENT from ALL other wars...." The exertion shows in his face and his body language.

Nobody has ever explained war. It's one hell of a poor way of propagating the species. Any particular war is always easy to analyze, or at least it seems so. Barbara Tuchman's analysis of the causes of World War I is detailed and credible, but it's only one war. As it is, after Tuchman gave a guest lecture at a famous Midwestern university, a student congratulated her for explaining World War I. He'd always wondered why "the other was called World War II." The widespread ignorance of warfare, its requirements and consequences, is enough to justify watching a program like this, despite its evident weaknesses. But if nobody has ever explained war, I suspect it's partly because we haven't the technology to do it yet. Eventually, I think neuroscience will find part of the answer in the amygdala, a small, almond-shaped subcortical structure that governs the rage response, among other things. War is a social act. But it can't escape its biological prescriptions.


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