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American Experience

War Letters

War letters from the American Revolution to the Gulf War are read by 15 actors (including Joan Allen, Edward Norton, Kevin Spacey and Courtney B. Vance). Accompanied by clips, home movies and re-creations, the letters reflect the horror, boredom, anger and, mostly, fear that war engenders. Many readings are followed by notations that the writers had died, but the hour isn't unrelentingly grim. “Pucker up,” one WWII GI writes to his sweetheart on VJ Day. “Here I come.”