While major victories are covered, such as the liberation of Paris, the Battle of Iwo Jima, the sinking of the USS Indianapolis, and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the documentary thankfully doesn't white wash history. Though dubbed "the greatest generation" by Tom Brokaw, some of those same people saw and did nothing about African Americans being unable to “eat at the counter in Woolworth,” as was the experience of John Gray, one of the first African Americans in the U.S. Marine Corps. They also allowed Japanese Americans to be rounded up into internment camps. Even more brutal and disillusioning to the American idea is how members of both minorities, those who risked their lives for the country and the world, still suffered racism when they returned home.
The War on Blu-ray has been given a 1080p/MPEG-4 AVC encoded transfer displayed at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. A documentary such as this has a wide variety of sources, from pristine modern-day interviews shot with HD cameras to archival material of film and photos in varying conditions. Some of the latter naturally shows a great deal of grain and degradation, but their historical significance trumps all in telling the story as authentically as possible.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 is more than adequate. The voices of interview subjects; narrator Keith David; and actors like Tom Hanks, Samuel L. Jackson, and Eli Wallach, who provided voices from the past; are quite clear, centered in the mix, and balanced with the music and effects. The sound design that brings the war to life augments the visuals well. Weapons and explosions fill the surrounds and receive very good support from the LFE.
The Blu-ray contains bonus material. Ken Burns and producer/co-director Lynn Novick recorded audio commentaries for Episode One, "A Necessary War;" and Episode Four, "Pride of Our Nation." Burns, Novick, and others discuss "Making The War" (SD, 36 min) and how they wanted to tell the story from the bottom up. As previously alluded to, WWII is too vast for one project to cover everything. For those who want more, Burns includes material accumulated for the project that didn't make the final cut in Deleted Scenes (SD, 44 min) and Additional Interviews (SD, 55 min).
The War is a valuable addition to history and Burns' oeuvre, and the Blu-ray delivers a satisfying high-def presentation. Highly recommend for history buffs.