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How the States Got Their Shapes: Season 1 (2011)

Brian Unger , Half Yard Productions  |  NR |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (224 customer reviews)

List Price: $29.98
Price: $21.17 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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How The States Got Their Shapes Season 1
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DVD 4-Disc Version $21.17  

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How the States Got Their Shapes: Season 1 + How the States Got Their Shapes: Season 2 + The Men Who Built America
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Product Details

  • Actors: Brian Unger
  • Directors: Half Yard Productions
  • Format: Box set, Color, 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: 4
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: A&E Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 1, 2011
  • Run Time: 420 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (224 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005ELVCDY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,291 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

Feature-length HISTORY Special How The States Got Their Shapes

DISC 1: A River Runs Through It / The Great Plains, Trains, & Automobiles / Force of Nature / State of Rebellion

DISC 2: Living on the Edge / Use it Or Lose It / Church and States / A Boom With A View

DISC 3: Culture Clash / Mouthing Off

DISC 4: Bonus Special: How the States Got Their Shapes

Editorial Reviews

When the founding fathers drew the first map of America, they confronted many of the same challenges that unite and divide us today. HOW THE STATES GOT THEIR SHAPES explores how our borders evolved--and continue to change--in response to religion, transportation, communication, politics, culture clashes and even Mother Nature. This is no textbook-style documentary series. Local experts and everyday folks lead host Brian Unger, a journalist and former Daily Show correspondent, to insights about some of America s most baffling questions. How are flying fish threatening to re-draw the shape of Illinois? What does the use of cell phones by Pennsylvania s Amish have to do with the shape of their state? How is the phrase sold down the river linked to the shape of what might be our 51st state? Why did the invention of air conditioning change how America picks its Presidents? Unger uncovers the answers, hidden in our map.

BONUS FEATURES: Feature-length HISTORY Special How The States Got Their Shapes

DISC 1: A River Runs Through It / The Great Plains, Trains, & Automobiles / Force of Nature / State of Rebellion

DISC 2: Living on the Edge / Use it Or Lose It / Church and States / A Boom With A View

DISC 3: Culture Clash / Mouthing Off

DISC 4: Bonus Special: How the States Got Their Shapes

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
By Jim Clark, publisher Lee County Courier, Tupelo, MS

You probably have never heard of the state of Jefferson. It may not exist on paper but it certainly rests in the minds and hearts of many who no longer call themselves Northern Californians. In 1941, some counties in the area ceremonially seceded. What stopped the real movement was America's entry into World War II, but the notion has been rekindled in recent years.
That's just one of the many interesting topics covered
the recently released DVD set, How the States Got Their Shapes.
The television series that airs on the History channel and is based on Mark Stein's book, How the States Got Their Shapes. It's hosted by Brian Unger, who was an original correspondent and producer on The Daily Show, from 1996-99. Comedy and history actually go together.
One state border runs right through the middle of a business, a bar (where it's legal to sell alcohol) and a restaurant (where it's not).
A lot of states got their shapes from rivers, but all kinds of things determined borders from bar fights, to guns, to churches and from too much water, or not enough.
One segment follows accents which was particularly entertaining. It turns out that speech coaches are most frequently hired by actors who want to not have any kind of accent.
The show started as a single two-hour special which first aired in April 2010, but returned as a regular series of one-hour shows starting in May 2011.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How the States Got Their Shapes December 9, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Pretty good series that is shown on the History Channel. The humor really helps. More in line with what the History Channel should be doing to help folks get alittle geography which the younger folks probably didn't get much of in School.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing New Under the Sun January 3, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
So you think graft and corruption are brand-new products of modern society? Let Brian Unger lead you around this wonderful nation of ours and you will discover two things that shaped the states: 1) Water...or the lack of it. 2) Money...and a willingness to share it with some esteemed lawmakers in Washington, D.C.

Unger takes us from coast to coast and border to border; he discovers the often seamy goings on that gave our states their individual shapes. He interviews the citizens, drives the highways, rows on the lakes and eats lots of barbecue! He discovers that there are little islands of rebels who have declared their independence from this great land of ours, and they are only partially kidding!

Colorful, scenic, interesting and entertaining, this fascinating DVD from Amazon.com is a painless way to get a little more insight into how this amazing nation grew.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my FAVORITE shows! March 22, 2012
Format:DVD
I absolutely love this show. It is definitely one of my favorites ever. If you love history & geography, you will most assuredly love this show. If you don't like history or geography, this series will most likely change your mind.

The facts are fascinating. I love American history and this presents it in a way that is easy to absorb and fun to watch.

The graphics in the show are fabulous. I love it when they do the "flyovers" of the country, and how they use the US map for illustrations by switching it around or re-sizing it (sounds confusing until you see the show). The show definitely has a contemporary, fun feel to it.

Brian Unger is the perfect host for this show. He is witty, hilarious and does a fabulous job of presenting the facts in an interesting way. I know that has a lot to do with the writing, etc., but Unger adds his own flair to the show and it wouldn't be the same without it. A boring host can kill a great show quickly.

I REALLY hope that since this DVD set says "Season One" that it means they are planning on future seasons!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Educational and entertaining March 3, 2012
By Andrea
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I bought this DVD to use in my classroom, and it is very fun and not dry like so many of those videos that are so old.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a must see very informative dvd January 19, 2012
By madmike
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is probably one of the best dvds I've ever watched very good for showing peiople about us states. I highly recommend this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars We enjoy this series...only one complaint June 26, 2013
Format:Amazon Instant Video
We noticed that the same states seem to be covered over and over. We are interested in Kentucky and Tennessee, but they were not discussed at all. We learned A LOT about California, Ohio and Nevada. Love the format, love the host. Just wish there was a bit more diversity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very entertaining and informative show April 13, 2013
By BARB J.
Format:Amazon Instant Video
No matter what age you are it makes a fun time of learning the history of the USA! Every episode had me laughing, and at the same time learning many facts I never new.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone in the family loved it!
From the 5 year old to the parent, we were all glued to this series. The best episodes were in the beginning.
Published 1 day ago by M. Garber
5.0 out of 5 stars Learnng something new with each one
It has been interesting watch the series. We keep learning something knew when we watch each one. Plus, my family watches it and they are entertained and educated.
Published 1 day ago by B. Myers
5.0 out of 5 stars Something new in every episode
We watch this as filler inbetween our regular network shows and it's great. The host isn't annoying and the information is clear and interesting.
Published 4 days ago by William
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, engaging, and informative
It isn't often that a historical topic is brought to life in a way that makes it both informative and highly entertaining, but this program does both! Read more
Published 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A must see!
This is a great show. Very informative. I learning a wealth of knowledge about states that I'd never known before. .
Published 9 days ago by Preston D. Robinson III
3.0 out of 5 stars I wouldn't necessarily recommend it as a must-see to a friend but was...
This show was interesting. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it as a must-see to a friend but was thought it was a family friendly option that had some fun facts.
Published 17 days ago by Stacy Hoefer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Historical Series
Very interesting and informational. It has fun facts, questions and answers. I would suggest this for people of all ages.
Published 17 days ago by blacknight
5.0 out of 5 stars Great history!!!
These shows should be checked for absolute accuracy and then shown as part of a social studies or history course in high school.
Published 20 days ago by E. Yeager
5.0 out of 5 stars A fun and informative show.
One of the most entertaining documentary shows I've watched in a long time. Lots of interesting stories about the founding of US states. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Justin Holt
5.0 out of 5 stars So interesting
I love hearing about the reasons behind the states shapes or any American custom we have and don't often think about why. I watch these while working out at home.
Published 24 days ago by M. Bremer
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