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122 of 123 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars American Civil War DVD Collection
The TV series by Ken Burns was shown several years ago but this has not been bettered by anything else. As somebody who is interested in the subject the presentation is perfect. The DVD collection is ideal with 3 programmes on each of the three discs, the production values, cinematography, voice-overs, historical documents and photographs are first rate.
Any...
Published on 18 Jan 2003 by Chris.

versus
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very good but...
Although it is a really good portrait of the american civil war, I must comment a fault I have found in the "american civil war" documentary.

It would be wise and appreciated if it would include subtitles for those people like me who are interested in the american civil war and are not native english/american speakers.

PS: This fault commented above...
Published on 22 Jun 2011 by Jon Frias


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122 of 123 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars American Civil War DVD Collection, 18 Jan 2003
By 
Chris. (Darlington, Durham United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The American Civil War [DVD] (DVD)
The TV series by Ken Burns was shown several years ago but this has not been bettered by anything else. As somebody who is interested in the subject the presentation is perfect. The DVD collection is ideal with 3 programmes on each of the three discs, the production values, cinematography, voice-overs, historical documents and photographs are first rate.
Any student of American history this is a must have. Anybody interested in a thought provoking historical account with the benefit on DVD should own this. A most definite reccomendation.
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116 of 119 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Superb, 2 Dec 2002
This review is from: The American Civil War [DVD] (DVD)
This is without doubt the best documentry DVD I've ever seen.It tells the history of the Civil War from 1861-1865 through the eyes of everyone from soldiers who fought to Lincoln himself with actor's providing the voices.It is well thought out brilliantly presented and theres a guy called Shelby Foote who seems to know everything that happened to everyone. For example: He tells of Stonewall Jackson sitting on his horse eating a peach and surveying the dead on the battleground.Thousands of them.He turns to his doctor and says " God has been very kind to us this day". Its things like this that make this piece of history so enthralling and rightly so.It is presented in 3 discs and tells of every event of the war from Lincoln's speeches to Gettysburg and from Robert E Lee to a private in the Union Army named Elisha Hunt Rhodes. Also do look out for the most tearjerking moment when a letter is read from a soldier called Sullivan Ballou who writes to his wife so tenderly it will make you cry.Words like: If I die with my final breath I will whisper your name.The point being he did die at the next battle. I urge you, if you want to learn about this sad war or have any intrest then you must buy this wonderful DVD. It really is that good.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Extraordinary Series, 12 July 2006
By 
E. A. Redfearn "eredfearn2" (Middlesbrough) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The American Civil War [DVD] (DVD)
Produced some years ago by Ken Burns to critical acclaim. Now available on DVD and any historian or anyone interested in the Civil War years 1861-1865 cannot afford to miss this. Its not just a documentary supplemented by thousands of photographs, but it is a human testiment to a great tragedy which split an entire nation battling for freedom and state rights, and the rights of man to own slaves especially in the deep south. The human aspect of this terrible war which claimed the lives of more than 600,000 Americans is superbly told through the diaries and letters of those who witnessed at first hand this monumental piece of American history beginning with the secession of the southern states from the Union, and the final conflict leading up to the famous meeting between General Robert E Lee and General Ulysess Grant at Appotomatix Court House. Its also a very moving story enhanced by a superb music score of which the Ashokan Farewell is the most famous. An extraordinary series.
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130 of 136 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The American Civil War by Ken Burns, 14 Nov 2009
By 
C. W. Bradbury (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The American Civil War [DVD] (DVD)
The following words are drawn from the viewing booklet which accompanies this classic work by Ken Burns, and summarize the series perfectly; I quote:-
"It was the most terrible war in American history, fought in 10,455 American places from Valverde, New Mexico and Tullahoma, Tennessee to St Albans, Vermont and Fernandina on the Florida Coast. Three million Americans fought in it and over 600,000 men - two percent of the population - died in it. Homes became headquarters, churches and schoolhouses sheltered the dying, and huge foraging armies swept across American towns and burned American farms.What began as a bitter regional conflict between Union and States' rights ended as a struggle over the meaning of freedom in America. Five years in the making, this landmark documentary film series movingly and vividly presents the entire sweep of the war, from the battlefield to the home fronts, from the politicians and Generals to the enlisted men and their families, from the causes of the war and the opening guns at Fort Sumpter, to the stillness at Appomattox and Lincoln's assasination and beyond. Here is the Civil War as it was: in compelling archival photographs - in the words of those who experienced it - in haunting scenes from the countryside over which it was fought."
This is an epic production which fills three DVDdiscs, took five years to make; is eleven and a half hours long, made in nine episodes, which I list below:-
1.1861 - The Cause
2.1862 - A Very Bloody Affair
3.1862 - Forever Free
4.1863 - Simply Murder
5.1863 - Universe of Battle
6.1864 - Valley of the Shadow of Death
7.1864 - Most Hallowed Ground
8.1865 - War is Hell
9.1865 - Better Angels of Our Nature

Along with great attention to detail, depth of research and gripping narrative, I regard the greatest strength of this series to be the genuine historical impartiality shown throughout. Ken Burns took no artistic licence whatever, saying "It was our most important wish that we allow the evidence of the past to tell it's own story, whether it was through a photograph or an excerpt from a soldiers diary". He has succeeded magnificently and his 'The American Civil War' is now the benchmark by which other productions are judged. I have no hesitation in recommending this splendid series, as the best on the market today. The American Civil War - a film by Ken Burns [DVD]
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104 of 109 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Cautionary Tale, 7 Jun 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: The American Civil War [DVD] (DVD)
I originally purchased this series on VHS several years ago. Most people making this purchase will probably do so beacuase they have seen all or part of the series before and would like to own it for future reviews. Please be aware that the Region 2 version contains only 3 discs and the Region 1 version is far superior with 2 additional discs of extras, better packaging and a 5:1 soundtrack instead of stereo! Why we have been shortchanged for the European release is beyond me and the licencees should come clean! either way it is an excellent series emotive, educational but not sufficiently revisionist for many historians. As an introduction it cannot be faulted or bettered.
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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One Of The Best Documentaries Ever Made, 18 Jun 2007
By 
C. O. DeRiemer (San Antonio, Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The American Civil War [DVD] (DVD)
There aren't too many productions from television that one can call "noble," but Ken Burns' The Civil War qualifies. Burns uses photographs, music, speech, maps and historical context to tell the story of the second most formative event in the nation's history. And since in those days people wrote...diaries, letters, journals...there is the written record not just of the great leaders, the politicians and generals, but of the wives and sweethearts, the nurses and doctors, newspaper editors and farmers. Most of all there are the words of the soldiers. Burns shows the importance and the sweep of the war, but in part he does it through the lives of average people caught up in events they may not have completely comprehended, but which they believed in.

If the words themselves have power, so do the voices. Burns recruited great voices, some actors, some not, to speak the words, distinctive voices that give great resonance to what we see. Julie Harris as Mary Chestnut, Charlie McDowell, a Virginia reporter, as Sam Watkins, Arthur Miller as William Sherman, Jason Robards as Grant, Studs Terkel as Benjamin Butler, Sam Waterston as Lincoln, and many others. He has David McCullough as the narrator. McCullough, an outstanding historian and writer, does a wonderful job. Burns also uses a number of historians to underline key points. Foremost, in my view, is Shelby Foote. Foote is the author of the epic three-volume Civil War. With his Southern accent, common sense and soft irony, he's a fascinating raconteur.

The program is never dry or dull. It is gripping and emotional. Both sides felt they were fighting for a pure cause. What is particularly touching is that, as a people, we had not yet lost much of the capacity for simple, unadorned, unembarrassed feelings, whether it be patriotism for one's country or love for one's wife. I challenge anyone to read this letter from Sullivan Ballou, a 32-year-old soldier in the Union Army, to his 24-year-old wife, and not sit stunned with emotion. Ballou was killed in the first battle of Bull Run a week later.

July 14, 1861

Camp Clark, Washington

My very dear Sarah:

The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days-perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write again, I feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more . . .

I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans on the triumph of the Government and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and sufferings of the Revolution. And I am willing-perfectly willing-to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt . . .

Sarah my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me unresistibly on with all these chains to the battle field.

The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them for so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when, God willing, we might still have lived and loved together, and seen our sons grown up to honorable manhood, around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me-perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar, that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battle field, it will whisper your name. Forgive my many faults and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have often times been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness . . .

But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the gladdest days and in the darkest nights . . . always, always, and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath, as the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by. Sarah do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again . . .

--------------

The program flows over 11 hours on five discs. In addition to the documentary, the discs are stuffed with background information...maps, documents, biographies and additional interviews. This is a superb production and is worth every penny.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant presentation, 19 April 2006
By 
Anniej (Cheshire, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The American Civil War [DVD] (DVD)
I remember this series on tv a few years ago and was moved by the whole presentation,the narration is superb and the use of well known actors to read the letters and documents written at the time is a brilliant idea.

I shall watch this again and again over the years, get it you wont be dissapointed.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Historical Masterpiece, 7 Jan 2010
By 
This review is from: The American Civil War [DVD] (DVD)
What did it feel like to fight in the Battle of the Wilderness, to be besieged in Vicksburg or wounded at Gettysburg? Through the words and images of this magnificent documentary series you are brought back to the reality of the American Civil War, one of the most devastating conflicts of the 19th Century.

It's now over twenty years since this documentary series was made and it's as impressive today as ever. Despite the onset of an era of CGI films and rolling news graphics in the meantime, nothing could improve the quality of this historical masterpiece.

Original photographs, extracts from contemporary letters and diaries, and context from respected historians (including the elegant anecdotes of Shelby Foote and a wonderfully over the top bloke called Ed Bearss who certainly adds drama) combine to paint a vivid picture of a terrible war.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking, 9 July 2008
By 
Andy Millward (Tiptree, Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The American Civil War [DVD] (DVD)
This is just breathtaking. While there are many comprehensive and fully documented histories on DVD, Burns and McCullough have gone much further, bringing the full gut-wrenching horror of the American Civil War to life. Totally spellbing and worth every penny. Should be compulsory viewing for everybody, at least once in a lifetime.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History at it's Best, 10 July 2003
By 
Kevin Allen (Hillingdon Uxbridge, Middlesex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The American Civil War [DVD] (DVD)
The Civil War ran from 1861-65 and over the years there have been many documentary's reviewing the war between the States as it is really known, But Ken Burns has by far excelled himself with this excellent documentary of the Civil War in Pictures, Music and commentary, Without a doubt the best Civil War documentary that has ever been made, A must for any Cival war enthusiast
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The American Civil War [DVD]
The American Civil War [DVD] by Ken Burns (DVD - 2002)
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