Review: America, The Story of Us

America: Story of UsAmerica: The Story of Us is a History Channel television series that spans American history from the late 1500′s to present day. In addition to covering major conflicts and developments that helped shape our nation, it also has episodes devoted to the rise of our infrastructure, the discovery of oil, the development of mass transportation and more.

The production of the series is impressive. Far from a scholarly documentary, it uses CGI, reenactments, photos, celebrities, politicians and more to create a Hollywood-esque overview of America’s rise to superpower status. It’s like history class meets The Matrix.

I recommend this series – especially if you have children who love action movies! My 6 yr old daughter didn’t like a lot of the rather graphic war scenes, but my 12 yr old son was enthralled!

This series is a fun and exciting introduction that provides a springboard to more in-depth study of American history. And don’t forget to check out history.com where they offer free teacher’s guides, classroom episode guides, and an idea book of activities.

You can purchase it here, download it on iTunes, get it from Netflix, or probably borrow it from your local library. It’s also available from Amazon, where you can watch free previews.

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Shannon Entin (20 Posts)


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Comments

  1. Angela Foltz says:

    We’ve been watching these on instant Netflix. They’re very interesting!

  2. I am actually using this as the cornerstone of our American History study this year. I have been previewing it all summer to plan the rest of our units and have enjoyed it SO MUCH! I know that my two kids will love it when they begin watching it in a few weeks. The Episode Guides are also very helpful.

  3. We also loved this series! Watched it on Netflix. Thanks for sharing so that other moms can learn about this great resource.

  4. My family is watching this now and we love it! It is wonderful. My husband and I have enjoyed how they often throw in some information that is not so well known. Not only is it very informative ,but it is entertaining.

  5. This documentary was not the worst I’ve seen. But it was very far from the best. CGI is over used and seems to be more important than actual stories and facts. As far as being factually correct… Well, I’ll do my best to refrain from laughing. While I have found numerous errors in the history being told the worst of it comes from the blatant omission of facts from both sides of the conflicts highlighted. Most importantly: the American Civil War.

    Just that conflict alone would take possibly 10 seasons at 24 two hour episodes to fill. That still might not be enough. The South was evil and wanted only to keep the black man down. What utter nonsense. That is the feeling the narrator left me with. Only the righteous North and Abe Lincoln fought for freedom and were benevolent and wise beyond their years. Actually the man was a lobbyist for the railroad industry and favored a strong centralized government. And most of the Northern states took federal handouts and demanded high tariffs to protect their fledgling manufacturing industries. The fact that Lincoln was elected solely by the Northern votes primarily coming from those states that received federal subsidies should have been mentioned when he pressed South Carolina about tariff revenue that was lost to the federal government with South Carolina’s secession. (At the time most revenue for the feds was generated through tariffs on imported goods. With S.C. out and refusing to give what she did not owe by withdrawing from what was originally a voluntary contract; Lincoln felt he needed to recover the losses to repay his debt for being elected by those states receiving the subsidies.) Things a large majority of Southerners were against, as well as Midwesterners. Let us not forget that at the same time in Europe many leaders were consolidating their various territories and peoples. Only makes sense for Lincoln to follow suit with the British still upset with the Union at the time.

    As a student of the American Civil War for more than 10 years I find the errors committed by the producers of this series unforgivable. I understand there is only so much time for such a work but give me a break. This was hardly fair and objective. The mistakes just snowballed. Like the movie Avatar, this series was pretty to look at but lacked quality content. The affairs of humankind are rarely black and white issues (no pun intended). The complexity of our affairs is such that to make a series such as America the Story of Us and put more focus on visual effects than in-depth and accurate history does a disservice to the viewers. Knowledge is power. It is the knowledge of correct history that will aid us in preventing unnecessary loss of human life.

    If I were a teacher and were to use this series I can assure you it would not be a standalone tool. Much input from the teacher should be given and certain facts should be inserted to give the whole truth about the situations highlighted by the producers. Without someone to point out these things to students with no prior knowledge, this series will teach false history. Please view and use this series with caution.

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