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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 26 July 2011
I found this quirky little DVD a lot of fun. It answers many of the questions relating to the shapes of the individual states of the USA, but misses out on a few as well.

As a previous reviewer has stated, no mention of North/South Carolina, and I must have missed the bit on Oregon with it's volcanoes.

The presenter, Brian Unger, gives a fun commentary with many insights from local historians as he passes through several states.

Could have been even more interesting, had we learned how the states got their names too.
Utah named after the Ute tribe of Native Americans and so on.
The USA is such an interesting place, both geographically and historically too.

All in all, a great little video 88 minutes in length, but it was just a taste, and left as many questions unanswered. Having lived in Salt Lake City, Utah, for a while, it left this viewer, with a keen interest in the USA, wanting more.

Addendum:
Since writing this review, History Channel have released a
3 DVD boxed set of this programme which is much more inclusive
of the individual states.
The quality is just as good and is also available on Amazon.UK
The boxed set has a viewing time of over 6 hours.
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on 27 July 2011
Really enjoyed this DVD and added to my knowledge about the US considerably. However, I agree that it showed that it was originally broadcast in separate programmes which showed with the links from one to the other. And why did they miss out on the Carolinas? Surely with S.Carolina constantly wanting to secede, they missed a big opportunity here?!
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This DVD, produced by the History Channel, was not what I expected but is interesting nevertheless. Instead of detailing the borders state-by-state, the engaging Brian Unger adopts a quirky thematic approach over the eighty-two minute programme that dates to 2010.

Thus we learn, for example, of the battle between Ohio and Michigan in 1835, fighting over the Toledo strip, and of why Vermont stretches an extra three-quarters of a mile above the 45-degree latitude. We also hear of lost states and of the decision as to whether Ellis Island is in New York or New Jersey.

Along the way Unger talks to many member of the Great American Public about what they perceive the borders of their state to be. These tend to be wildly inaccurate, but the producers might have chosen these to provide more entertainment value. Disturbingly none of those spoken to were black. Moreover, there is barely a mention by Unger of the indigenous Americans, as if the land they entered was empty. Indeed, Unger says at one point about the land in the west, “We had all this new territory …”

Be apart from these criticisms, the programme moves along nicely and never leaves its audience bored. There are no extras on my DVD.
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on 12 September 2012
Have you ever wondered why Michigan has the U.P. (upper peninsula)? Why Oklahoma has its odd "pan handle"? Or why many of the western states are so "boxy"? HOW THE STATES GOT THEIR SHAPES answers these questions, and presents many additional quirky tidbits and factoids associated with the boundaries of the states. From short-lived states such as "Franklin" and "Jefferson," to anomalies such as the Missouri "boot," and Minnesota's "Northwest angle" - this DVD presents a nice bit of "cocktail party knowledge," whetting the appetite of those who are fond of odd facts and historical minutia.
I came across this DVD at my local library, and I'm glad that I gave it a chance. I look forward to getting my hands on a copy of the 10 part series that subsequently followed this premier.
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on 21 November 2012
This is the best value for money dvd I have seen in years, it is not only interesting it is also educational,I would highly recommend it.
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on 4 November 2013
I was really looking forward to this dvd and getting some fun facts about the states names. I got a few of those, but the the hole setup was very confusing zig zagging from one story in one state, to another and then returning to the same state numerous times later on. I did not get a full story from any State and just got more confused.
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on 4 June 2014
Interesting topic but poorly constructed documentary; far too much wasteful chatter and not enough story and historical content; not recommended
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on 29 November 2015
Can't go wrong at this price, a good documentary with a few slight niggles at the lack of mention of some states, but only one or two.
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on 5 June 2016
Bought this for my mum who likes American history. She said that this gave her a good insight into America
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on 12 July 2016
Brilliant. Great lesson about America
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