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on 25 July 2015
Too violent was going to be for me
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on 13 July 2015
Bought after reading the 'Book of Negroes' ...
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on 21 July 2013
I needed to view the interpretation and or authenticity of colonial history 'unpacked'
It was emotionally accurate but such is the portrayal of the human drama. This was counterbalanced with the searing grit of the Englishness of the actors who were the captors, I had mixed feelings which I thought might come through as I read more of the Histories of the experiences of these commonfolk altogether a realistic presentation and portrayal of a sad epoch .
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on 19 November 2014
As much as I dislike the approach taken here, of history portrayed via reenactment (or for that matter of worthy fiction -- the Harry Potter movies were inevitable, but did this have to be?), it is very well done, and very effective in telling a story that few of us (Americans at least) heard in history classes. If you really can't read the book, which is truly great, then this is your next best option.

However, some of the historic messiness which makes the book great is lost in transition. I think it is too easy to conclude from the DVD that the abolitionist movement (and subsequent founding of Freetown) was driven almost entirely by Christian humanist zeal. That is certainly part of it, but so was finding an expedient, yet humanitarian, way to remove a population of unwanted former slaves who had fought with the British in the American Revolution from their subsequent exile to the streets of London, or to Nova Scotia.

And the DVD implies that once John Clarkson was removed from Freetown for attempting to do his job too well, the colony declined. As noble a character as Clarkson truly was, that's not quite how I remember the book. In spite of horrible management from the company in London, it seems that the new residents of Freetown were able to establish some positive connections with people of the coast and survive better for at least a while.

Finally, it is disappointing that the DVD did not include any footage of Bance Island (also called "Bunce"), an important slave trading site near Freetown. At least as of 25 years ago, Bance was a very haunted place, overgrown by cottonwood trees but unspoiled by tourist development (unlike Gorée Island is Senegal). Perhaps that is no longer so, or would the journey have been too dangerous or expensive?

Nonetheless, this is worthwhile.
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on 15 March 2014
Shama presents an excellent combination of fact-fiction on a DVD, easily accessible for many viewers. Shamas storytelling is inspiring and his language should be listened to by more presentators in this field. I vagueli remember that this story was also told by Spielberg, at least part of it.
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on 3 March 2012
This is an excellent documentary which captures some of the best parts of Simon Schama's book. The story of the ex-slaves who fought for the British during the American War of Independence. Recommended viewing!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 7 September 2011
Schama is an experienced documentary film-maker; he and his team know how to get the best out of the medium. In this drama-documentary, they build on earlier successes to create a very informative, moving, shocking and engaging history of an aspect of American history which still resonates today.
Unless read by a vivid, creative imagination, scholarly history can remain just that - scholarly words on the page; drama documentary breathes life into it, the words rise from the page and become what they always were, the lives of real people. Schama has always had a flair for imbuing history with vividness and breathing life into stuffy history without an excess of voyeuristic, gratuitous drama.
This creates the slavery industry before our eyes; history becomes "now" and reverberates. One can ask little more from a historian.

Recommended.
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on 5 November 2008
Interesting bit of American history, superb story-telling by the British-born Professor of history Simon Schama. Moreover the situation of Afro-American is a current with the election of Democratic senator Obama on 4th November 2008. After more than two centuries we can finally see the start of a new America... Freedom at last?
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on 19 October 2014
good
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on 6 February 2009
It's a great documentary/drama of Simon Schama's epic-Rough Crossings. The movie captures the key chapters and characters of the book. It's an excellent combination of documentary and drama. The acting and editing are terrific. Watching this movie makes you want to read the book, badly.
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