The Michael Wood BBC Collection : In Search Of The Trojan War / In The Footsteps Of Alexander The Great / In Search Of Shakespeare / In Search Of Myths And Heroes / Conquistadors (5 Disc Box Set) [DVD]
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This Boxset contains all of the individual Michael Wood titles: In Search Of The Trojan War (BBCDVD1425), In The Footsteps Of Alexander The Great (BBCDVD1503), In Search Of Shakespeare (BBCDVD1299), In Search Of Myths And Heroes (BBCDVD1682) and Conquistadors (BBCDVD1694).
In Search Of The Trojan War
Filmed in Greece, Turkey and Berlin, charismatic historian Michael Wood attempts to discover whether there was any truth in Homer's epic poems. Is Hissalik the site of the mighty Troy? Did Helen, Achilles and Agamemnon ever exist? What was the significance of the famous wooden horse? Prepare for dramatic new twists to the tale.
In The Footsteps Of Alexander The Great
Michael Wood takes us on a journey following the triumphant march of Alexander of Macedonia from Greece to India and brings new insights into the man whose myth and achievements are still considered important in the twenty-first century.
In Search Of Shakespeare
Complete four part series exploring the life of the world's greatest and most famous writer. Presenter-led, mixing travel, adventure, live action interviews and specially shot documentary and live action sequences with the RSC on the road.
A history series - it focuses not on the plays, but on the history and sets the life of the poet in the extraordinary times in which he lived. We are introduced to the dark world of Queen Elizabeth's police state - a time of surveillance, militarism and foreign wars. We are reminded that Shakespeare lived through the Spanish Armada, the Gunpowder Plot, the colonisation of the New World and the beginnings of British power in America. But most importantly Shakespeare also lived through England’s Cultural Revolution: an enforced split with the old medieval English spirit world which was to lead the English people into a brave new Protestant future. A split which defined Shakespeare’s life -and our modern world.
In Search Of Myths And Heroes
Michael Wood explores four of the most famous myths in the world: Shangri-la, the Golden Fleece, the Queen of Sheba and the Holy Grail. His journeys take him to some of the most remote and exciting places on earth - from the fantastic landscapes of western Tibet to the mountains of Georgia and the Caucasus; and from the plains of southern Iraq to the coasts of Ethiopia, Yemwn and the Horn of Africa. The stories he reveals will also take in Greece and Turkey, India and Nepal, and the world of Celtic Britain and the west of Ireland. In his investigations Michael Wood delves into the past to separate fact from fiction, and to find out the historical truth.
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In Search of The Trojan War is an excellent exposition not only of the history of that conflict but of the men and women who sought to discover the current locations.
In The Footsteps of Alexander The Great sees Wood in typical mode, scaling mountains and crossing deserts to follow the greatest conqueror of them all (Genghiz Khan lacking his Arrian); taking us to areas we may never visit but want to see.
Conquistadors amps this up even more with the tales of Cortes, the Pissaros, and Cabeza de Vaca as we travel around North, Central and South America.
In Search of Myths and Heroes is a hodge-podge of different eras and styles from Sheba to Camelot; involving a lot of exotic locations.
and, finally (for my viewing anyway) the BBC allow him to travel in England (and a wee bit of Scotland) for In Search Of William Shakespeare. The locations and research was wonderful, especially for someone who worked at Blackfriars. And if we had rather too many lovies we had some wonderful actors too; Sher in the Scottish Play and Glover in Lear.
Also in the set was In The Footsteps of Alexander The Great, which is a fair and unbiased account of Alexander's life. It doesn't glorify him and neither does it vilify him. It gives both sides of a complex man. Following his conquests through the east is really gratifying and Woods encounters many of the same problems two and a half thousand years after Alexander. Very good.
In Search of Myths & Heroes is a let-down in one section: King Arthur. It's single episode on Arthur is woefully sketchy and ignores huge amounts of evidence, so I cannot in all honesty recommend this episode. The other 3 episodes Queen of Sheba, Shangri-La and Jason & The Golden Fleece are all well constructed documentaries, and quite interesting.
Conquistadors is a four part series shedding light on the appalling Spanish escapades in the New World. It does show the extraordinary lengths these men went to and the undeniable bravery, but the greed of these men also shows through and it isn't a pretty period in human history. The last two episodes are more interesting as they centre on ventures less genocidal and more of discovery. It is a good, if dour, series, but given the subject matter it couldn't really be anything else.
In Search of Shakespeare is a real find! I didn't even realize this series featured, but I lapped it up. It is truly enlightening and very interesting. Thoroughly enjoyed this pleasant surprise. Does it take into account the various theories of others having written some of the plays he is accredited to? Sort of. It touches on it. But it does give a much better understanding of who Shakespeare really was.
As a box set I would clearly recommend the it. It is clearly presented and won't be too taxing on the brain, while at the same time showing you the realities of its various subjects. I hope this helps potential buyers.
This is a formidable intellectual achievement not to be overlooked - to distill the extensive historical record and present it in an entirely plausible manner for non-specialists - is not the sphere of an intellectual sissy.
Usually one has to endure the painfully stentorian tones of the Olympian wisdom's usually associated with documentaries of this genre. This is not the case with Michael Wood, whose seeming effortlessness is just a marvel to watch and learn from.
The filming in some obviously difficult locations is imaginative and impressive achievement on its own - puts Wood himself in a special league of resilience. The quality of the transfer and colorization of the footage - considering the vintage of some of it - is of a high order.
One doffs one's hat in admiration at this man's grasp of history, and skill at imparting it.
Hard to over-recommend this boxed series.
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