Burns has absolutely caught the pertinent parts of all major battles and the sense of what was happening in this country. By focusing on four cities and towns, as representative of certain attitudes and problems (segregation and the heinous interment of Japanese-American citizens), he has paid honor to the contributions of everyone and sacrifices - in many cases of people's freedoms and rights. The protests of certain Hispanic groups, about being "snubbed" in the original content, seems out of line. The war was SO massive that no amount of reasonable time could do justice to all possible contributions. The protests sonds too politically correct to me ... but I digress.
"The War" is a heartbreaking storyline. Burns has demystified the notion that this was a war of honor. It was a totally ugly affair (as death usually is) and he is driving that home like a jackhammer. The Episode 3 letters from Babe Ciarlo, corresponding from Italy, and then only to learn of his eventual death at the conclusion, brought tears to my eyes and also made my wife cry. You knew damn well it was coming but it still was upsetting. That is the quality of the writing and presentation.
It is the best thing on TV of its kind since .... well Burns' baseball and Civil War series. It is so superior to anything concocted on History Channel, etc. it isn't even close.
My wife said she wishes someone would chain George W. Bush to a chair and make his watch all of this to see what really happens to men when they fight and get killed in battle. It's horrific (Burns' has found film never seen before and it is graphic) and that smessage shines like a beacon as people today think that combat is something less than ugly.
I also present a top 10 list of the best WWII movies (actually 11 in no particular order).
Saving Private Ryan
The Longest Day
Bridge over the River
From Here to Eternity
Run Silent, Run Deep
The Great Escape
The Big Red One
Honorable mention goes to Sands of Iwo Jima; Letters from Iwo Jima; The Story of GI Joe; Battleground; Das Boot.