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American Experience: Death & The Civil War (2012)

 NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)

List Price: $24.99
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American Experience: Death & The Civil War + This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War (Vintage Civil War Library)
Price for both: $28.06

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Product Details

  • Format: Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Pbs (Direct)
  • DVD Release Date: September 18, 2012
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0089VX0UO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,863 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

From acclaimed filmmaker Ric Burns, "Death and the Civil War" explores an essential but largely overlooked aspect of the most pivotal event in American history. With the coming of the Civil War, and the staggering casualties it ushered in, death entered the experience of the American people as it never had before - permanently altering the character of the republic, and the psyche of the American people. Based on Drew Gilpin Faust's groundbreaking book, "This Republic of Suffering," the film tracks the increasingly lethal arc of the war down through the struggle, in the war's aftermath, to cope with an American landscape littered with the bodies of hundreds of thousands of soldiers.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Death And The Civil War During the Sesquicentennial September 13, 2012
Format:DVD
Without a doubt, This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War by Drew Gilpin Faust put the Civil War on the bestseller lists again. Published in 2008, Faust's work illuminated for many a new view of Ken Burns' Civil War 1990 series. Popular culture treats the American Civil War differently than scholars, buffs and reenactors treat the war. For popular culture the market place is a battlefield; products vie for mass attention and sales. Now during the 150th sesquicentennial of 1862, the public will likely take a glance at the Civil War. Ric Burns' Death and the Civil War will premiere on Tuesday September 18th on public broadcasting television. Based upon Faust's bestselling non-fiction work, Death and the Civil War is a sobering reminder that the Civil War was a landscape turned red by 750,000+ deaths in four years.

At 120 minutes, Burns' pace is deliberate and provocative. The opening segment is jarring. A few moments before his death, a Mississippi soldier begins writing a letter to his father. The man bleeds onto the paper has he haltingly reveals his last thoughts about his life, service, death and afterlife. Within this 12 minute preface viewers' hearts may begin to break. The images that Burns selects include photography from the era; within the images there are ghosts, individuals who moved during the 30 second to a minute and half exposure time. There are subtleties in the images and texts that may move past the causal viewer; such may be the estimate that of the 750,000+ deaths 50% were not identified by name.

The chapters are each about 15 minutes in length: Death, Burying, Naming, Honoring, Believing and Doubting, Accounting, and Remembering.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nothing Civil About It September 18, 2012
Format:DVD
The subject matter holds no allegience to North or South...only to the grave. If you're familiar with Ken Burns you know what to expect & you won't be disappointed. Less of the "talking heads" than in previous works which I'm glad to see. I have no doubts it will join the ranks of great American History documentaries particularly in this genre.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Profound and moving September 24, 2012
By N. Perz
Format:DVD
D&TCW is a profound and moving piece of work. In many ways, the style seems similar to the rightfully famous Ken Burns series, "The Civil War" from the 1990s (another must-see classic). Haunting in presentation and heart-wrenching in substance, this documentary goes very far beyond the existential questions of perceptions of death, society's relationship with death, and the ways in which the Civil War turned these values/beliefs upside down. It is a testimony to the depths of humanity (and, sometimes, the lack thereof) of individuals as well as of society.

There's really nothing I can write that will adequatly convey the impact of this documentary. This is a must-see for every American.

Recommneded in the strongest possible terms.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Death and the Civil War September 24, 2012
By Jo Nina
Format:DVD
Just yesterday on our PBS station I caught this program entitles Death and the Civil War. I found it informative, interesting and heartbreaking. I heard about things I never knew before. I am now purchasing it for my home library. This is one that our kids studying the Civil War should see.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Think WE Have It Bad NOW??? October 24, 2013
Format:DVD
I've studied, researched, & collected 19th Century mourning etiquette, death, funerals, memorabilia & grief for many years and lectured on it. Present day talk of sex and how we came to be has replaced Victorian attitudes toward death: children were told the stork brought babies but were involved in deaths at home, where it most commonly took place. It was expected, prepared for, and all details were handled at home, including the funeral. There was no such thing as an undertaker until the Civil War & embalming was not common until then but became necessary when the bodies of soldiers, most of whom died in the South, needed preservation in order to be shipped home for burial---thus the many industries created: the undertaker, "mourning houses" that supplied the proper attire & accesories, rules of etiquette & dress that grew ever more complicated until after WW1. We think of those people then as obsessive, yet they were allowed to grieve openly, publicly; today, we are expected to return to work and "get over it" in a short time---we avoid and deny death, leaving all the details to the funeral director. There are many reasons for this, which I cover in my lectures, but suffice it to say that The Victorians dealt with it because they expected it.
I saw this documentary and although I am a Civil War historian as well, I had never delved into the citizens left to deal with thousands of dead soldiers & animals when the warring armies lit out of town. This film is stunning, despite its subject matter, and I have the book that it is based on. The documentary is EXCELLENT! Today's citizens, mostly women & children, could never handle what these people had to do, yet they set about burying the dead as soon as possible with no resources but their own & it was a horrific & daunting task.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Documentary Film Making at its best August 16, 2013
By CLJ
Format:Amazon Instant Video
This film has to be taken for what it is...a documentary about how death was viewed/dealt with/changed during the Civil War, it's impact on the soldiers and civilian population at the time, as well as after the fact. It addresses the cultural significance to death at the beginning and through the entire time of the civil war.

I am the Daughter/Granddaughter/Great Granddaughter of morticians, so death is my family business. But I never really thought about hos the social aspects of death would have been changed by the war. It's not a topic that is addressed in schools, as are many of the, what are considered, distasteful topics of life.

I am very glad that I watched this.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Informative
Thought this documentary was very well made. Loaded with interesting facts and actual photos from the Civil War era. Good Job!
Published 2 days ago by WH
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard to watch but glad I did
So very sad and difficult to sit through. It made me appreciate the sacrifices our fore fathers made for us all. How lucky we are to live in this country with all it's benefits. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Tragedy and Sadness
This was an excellent documentary, although very sad and intense. We rarely see the end result after the battles are over, and this is a very rude awakening, although we knew it... Read more
Published 20 days ago by Connee Davidson
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Summary of how the Civil War changed how we view death.
Very good video of the civil war. You will be saddened by all the deaths that were not expected and in the numbers that accumulated. Read more
Published 25 days ago by Randall
2.0 out of 5 stars Bit to morbid for me.
This is all you wanted to know about a pinguin. Too much of the same thing, and the B&W pics were used several times. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Joseph N. Perez
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest catastrophe to have occurred on these shores
This was indeed the Republic of Suffering. The consequences of the South's insistence on continuing slavery in every new state to enter the Union becomes so very clear. Read more
Published 1 month ago by tgm
4.0 out of 5 stars Audio Book Was Better
Although the film provided a deep visual background with the oft used civil war photos the dialogue was not as crisp as the audio book I have already heard when the book first was... Read more
Published 1 month ago by F. Sisti
4.0 out of 5 stars Death and its' innovations!
This film has a great many very deeply distressing and graphic pictures of battlefield dead and bloody letters home. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Pat
4.0 out of 5 stars The Civil War's Grim Reality
The American Civil War, fought from 1861 to 1865, would have a profound effect on the country both during and after the war. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Janet Chandler
4.0 out of 5 stars Civil War Horror
This documentary portrays the horror and unbelievable loss of life in the civil war.
I have seen many programs about the civil war, but this one to me was the most impressive
Published 1 month ago by RLST
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