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America at a Crossroads: Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience

A documentary explores the searing firsthand accounts of American troops through their own words — fiction, verse, letters, essays and personal journals. The film is based on the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) initiative by the same name, which was a series of writing workshops conducted by distinguished authors at domestic and overseas military installations. Combining interviews and dramatic readings, the film transforms this remarkable collection of writing into a deep examination of life on the front lines. The film provides depth and context for these experiences through conversations with great American writers from previous wars, including Tim O’Brien and James Salter. The stories recounted are sad, funny, violent and uplifting. The writings come to life with readings by Josh Lucas, Aaron Eckhart, Blair Underwood and others. "Operation Homecoming" evokes the universal emotions of war with a haunting poignancy and raw emotion.

Executive producer: Tom Yellin, The Documentary Group
Producer: Richard Robbins
Airdate: April 16, 2007 at 10 p.m. Check local listings.


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Production still from "Road Work," based on the writings of U.S. Army Reserve Staff Sergeant Jack Lewis.

Credit: Courtesy of The Documentary Group

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Animation still by graphic artist Christopher Koelle for "Men in Black," based on the writings of U.S. Army Specialist Colby Buzzell.

Credit: Courtesy of The Documentary Group

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Actor Aaron Eckhart, reading the narration for “Road Work,” based on the writings of SSG Jack Lewis.

Credit: Richard Robbins/The Documentary Group

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Cemetery, Dubois, WY, a location visited in the writing “Taking Chance,” by Lt. Col. Mike Strobl.

Credit: Adam Hyman/The Documentary Group