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How the Earth Changed History [Blu-ray] (2010)

Iain Stewart  |  NR |  Blu-ray
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Blu-ray 2-Disc Version $26.18  
DVD 2-Disc Version $22.49  
Region 39577 encoding (This DVD will not play on most DVD players sold in the US or Canada [Region 1]. This item requires a region specific or multi-region DVD player and compatible TV. More about DVD formats.)

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How the Earth Changed History [Blu-ray] + Earth: The Biography [Blu-ray] + Wonders of the Solar System [Blu-ray]
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Product Details

  • Actors: Iain Stewart
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (DTS-HD High Res Audio)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: June 29, 2010
  • Run Time: 300 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003DC87XE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,383 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

Filming in Extremes: An interview with Iain Stewart

Editorial Reviews

The traditional interpretation of history has focused largely on human factors. Yet the natural environment has also shaped history since the dawn of time. This series reveals for the first time on television how geology, geography and climate have had a far more powerful influence on mankind than has previously been acknowledged. With passionate storytelling and extraordinary HD camerawork, this series combines bold ideas with a new science, geo-determinism, to form an original version of human history. Discover why societies have succeeded or failed, and how the environment has influenced every aspect of our history from art to industry, religion to war, world domination or collapse. This series overturns preconceptions about our nations and our cultures to offer a new perspective on who we are today.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
The Earth occupies a unique position in the evolution of humanity serving as both womb and grave. "How the Earth Changed History" tells us more about how the unique planet that we live on influenced our development by focusing on five geologic and geographic aspects of our planet that served to strengthen and move our evolutionary progress along. Narrated by Iain Stewart the narrator of "Earth: The Biography" another excellent documentary by the BBC, the show focuses on "Water", "Earth" and "Wind" on the first disc and "Fire" reserving the last section on humanity's impact on its own "The Human Planet". Each section looks into how water for example and the abundance or lack of it influenced the sprawling civilizations that appeared throughout history and how the changing topography of our world also brought down those civilizations just as readily.

"Deep Earth" focuses on how civilizations were drawn to areas where there were fault lines because of the abundance of minerals that could be found. "Wind" pushed us further on the oceans to new destinations that we might otherwise have never discovered and helped create agricultural diversity as well as influencing the dark behavior of humanity as seen with the creation and expansion of slavery.

"Fire" was the first step into allowing us to master our world by forging new, more advanced weapons among other things. "The Human Planet" looks at everything from the chemical destruction of our environment to corporate agriculture and how it has impacted our world and, in turn, threatening us as the world reacts.

A very good, sharp looking Blu-ray shot in high definition video, "How The Earth Was Changed" looks remarkably clean, sharp and vivid with solid black levels throughout and strong, bold colors.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great! June 30, 2010
Very interesting series on how the earth's natural phenomena (like wind) have resulted in the rise and fall of human settlements and civilizations. Beautiful scenery, thought provoking linkages, and a different way to understand history. Well worth seeing again and again!
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-See for Everyone! July 13, 2010
Every child should see this in school. Especially children in poor neighborhoods. Every parent should see it. Every person on the planet should be able to see and know about how the planet works. This presentation is well written, well thought out, and well said and illustrated. It's as good as "Planet Earth" series. It covers at least three subjects that should be taught in our schools at the elementary school level. And it does this in an enjoyable format.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Geologist and senior lecturer Iain Stewart does a phenomenal job in explaining clearly to a broad audience how much influence climate, geography, and geology have had on the destiny of humanity. Too often, human beings do not acknowledge how much they owe to Planet Earth.

Stewart successively reviews the impact of deep earth, fire, water, and wind on what humanity has accomplished. Stewart also looks at the comprehensive influence that men and women have had on shaping the environment around them. Teachers can use the two-DVD set under review to help make geography and history appealing to their secondary school students.

In summary, the BBC once more shines in combining a gifted educator, fascinating narrative, outstanding camerawork, and appropriate special effects with each other to explain complex phenomena to a broad audience.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Geology and Human History August 29, 2010
"How the Earth Changed History" takes a thoughtful look at how people have exploited earth's natural forces (wind, water, fire) in the course of building human civilization. Topics include early farming, metallurgy, trade winds, steam power, and global warming.

Geologist Ian Stewart is an adventurous presenter, who walks through fire and climbs and dives into a lot of fascinating and little-known places (Mexico's Naica cave, an underwater forest in Oregon) in the course of the series. I thought the program could have gone into more depth about each topic, but on the positive side, I really enjoyed its combination of adventure, photography, earth science, and history.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Educational Eye-Candy September 16, 2010
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Ian is the Man! I have a degree in the sciences and a very good practical background in Geology. I don't know much about the History of Civilization however, so Ian Stewart's new series grabs me and doesn't let go. Even my 5 year old science guy loves the series.

The photography alone is worth buying the package, but the thoughtful and insightful commentary allows most anyone with an interest in either subject to come away with a greater understanding of how we got to modern civilization.

I also liked how Ian handled the final episode. Lately it seems only the smallest percentage of people truly understands the Science Method, so they are getting their "science" information from Politicians. Ian takes ALL the politics out of the equation and lays out a startlingly fresh perspective on where we go from here. I always feel more hopeful after watching.

Fantastic series! I cant wait to see what Ian cooks up next.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anthropologic optimism at its best May 29, 2011
Most natural history programs examine a particular organism or habitat and consider how the elements have shaped their evolution. Series such as Planet Earth or David Attenborough's Life exist to explore how the basic factors of land and weather determine the choreography with which flora and fauna dance endlessly amidst one another in a battle for survival. In Earth: The Biography, geologist Iain Stewart (who exhibits a pure childlike joy in these discussions) laid the groundwork of the elemental forces defining this complex planet - Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. How The Earth Changed History brings this series full circle by reconsidering how these have shaped human history, and how dissonant human tribes struggled with one another for local, and eventually global, supremacy. Ethnocentric accounts of history would have you believe that one's own culture and intelligence were the sole agents of change. It turns out that humans tended to gather in certain areas to maximize their use of natural resources, and luck often played a tremendous part as to which came out on top. The disparate disciplines of geology, geography, history, and anthropology are weaved effortlessly together in what is a dizzying spectacle that regards where we are headed. Documentaries of late tend to focus on our future with either conservative blinders or progressive gloom; this series comes to the conclusion that mankind itself has become a force of nature that has changed the Earth, and such enormous control is reason for optimism.

One is reminded of the approach of Jared Diamond as How The Earth Changed History considers resource management in the rise and fall of civilizations and explains why certain nations are at the top of the game in this uncertain world.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A super look at geology's impact on our origins
A super look at geology's impact on our origins. Stewart does a great job explaining it to the non-scientistical types!!
Published 26 days ago by CARL D. BAKER
5.0 out of 5 stars If like History See it
I like Iain Stewart. He does a good job of bring a new twist on old history. As well as showing some of greatest wonders the world has.
Published 8 months ago by Timothy A Winslow
5.0 out of 5 stars Insights for a dull-minded world
The product is misnamed to promote sales. Pity! ("Better" (?): How Geophysical Phenomena Massively Affected Humanity). Read more
Published 8 months ago by Charles Morris
4.0 out of 5 stars Links Science and History
It's great! Excellent narration and enthusiasm. Photography is also quite good. I like the linking of Science with a History.
Published 12 months ago by John
5.0 out of 5 stars How the Earth Changed History [Blu-ray]
I'd recommend this Blu-ray to anyone from 6 to 99 years old! It's entertaining, intriguing and educational! The quality of the images is excellent!
Published 15 months ago by Rosangela De Freitas
4.0 out of 5 stars Good documentary
Good documentary, but unfortunately the monotonous voice and the accent of the narrator puts me to sleep. I've noticed the same thing with people who watch it with me. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Molinex
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating series
Iain Stewart takes the viewer around the world telling the story of the way the forces of nature help to determine how the history of mankind unfold. Read more
Published 19 months ago by J
5.0 out of 5 stars Great DVD about the four elements Earth, Water, Wind, and Fire and...
Loved this amazingly informative six-part BBC series of programs about our Earth, its natural elements, and natural events that happened that influenced the course of history and... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Sandra L. Wiley
5.0 out of 5 stars super service
Quick and easy. Gave as a Christmas gift. Enjoyed very much. Recipient is a middle school science teacher. Said he couldn't wait to take and show to his class.
Published on January 3, 2012 by bb64
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative, entertaining ... maybe a little heavy on entertaining
Other reviewers have gone into detail on the contents and technical aspects of the series, so I'll add a few thoughts on age-appropriateness and the host. Read more
Published on September 26, 2011 by Di
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