The list author says: "Growing up in special education I tend to be a big advocate of self education. It can be frustrating at times. But one of the elements that helped me through reading troubles and such were true to life documentaries through PBS and later History Channel. They also led me to many books I've read that tell similar stories. So here's a list of how I learned important things about the world."
"One of the best dinosaur stories available. Using advanced animatronics,in depth interviews with some of the worlds greatest paleontologists and a wonderful narration by the late Christopher Reeves this is exciting and scientifically sound for young people and largely thanks to Reeves intelligent and philosophical enough for adults."
"Upon reading this in fourth grade this was my first time hearing about the ugly and controversial atomic bombing of Hiroshima at the end of 1945. And the effect it had on an active 10 year old girl. One of the most important tales for anyone young and old. Sad in a way but also very inspiring."
"Considered by many to be a historical abomination,it's told from the point of view of Antonio Salieri, a jilted composer who resorts to suicide and mental illness later in life. Wonderfully performed by F Murray Abraham, this gives a strong overview aside from it's often comical nature what might go through the mind of a mental patient before mental illness was well understood."
"A wonderfully unique combination of documentary and dark comedy produced in 1982 with a new and innovative style. Somewhat influenced by the found sound sampling of hip-hop in that era this uses a cut-n-paste technique of stringing together old footage,without any narration to tell the story of the first decade of the atomic age. An excellent subject told with an inventive cinematic style."
"This has to be the essential televised volume on the civil rights movement in America,tracing events from Emmett Till up through Jesse Jackson's presidential campaign. A wonderful document of an extrodinary time in American history."
"Wonderful first hand document of the first years of the space program told by Mercury astronaut Deke Slayton (voiced by Barry Corbin,who played fictional astronaut Maurice Minnifield on TV's 'Northern Exposure'. Informative and often extremely funny."
"Open minded jazz fans will likely find the final volume of this typical and disappointing. However the breadth of what i covers,the poetic recitation of the history and the education on this neglected American art form makes it all worth it"
"Compelling Nova documentary,told partially with re-enactments about a lady named Mary Mallon,an unlucky Irish immigrant labelled "typoid mary" when she was discovered to be the first healthy disease carrier in America. Wonderful look on how class,race and sex plays into public health."
"Keiji Nakazawa's wonderfully fair and balanced view of life in Hiroshima in the several months before it became the site of the first atomic attack,the first book of a ten manga volume set. Does an excellent job in particular at how the Japanese of the era mistreated it's own citizens."
"Amazing story of the famous record label that helped bring Southern soul and funk to the masses. Also does an excellent job at showcasing how integral they were,through Wattstax and general inspiration to the late 60's Black Power movement"
"Simply put,one of the most compelling American history books ever written! By using the singular thread of generational change to even try to predict the future it got so much about human beings SPOT ON as a result"
"An essential story for everyone. Especially in a day when the gay/lesbian community has become so fragmented and cynical as they struggle for basic human rights. This is the story of how things were when people of a certain sexual orientation were considered "sick"."
"An interesting volume that I found cleaning out my grandmothers house once. Does an interesting job at explaining why one's appearance meant was considered so important in judging someones internal character."
"There's a lot of information here about the famed music producer,including how he somewhat unknowingly worked for the Manhattan project. A good mixture of the connection between the rock era and the atomic age via one person."
"Though very much the product of 1990's non-trust and paranoia,this does an excellent job at explaining much of that as it examines how all too many of the so-called "greatest generation (depression/WWII era) participated in projects involving human guinea pigs. Actually a lot more positive minded in the end than one might think."
"Probably the essential biography from a man whose not only seen and done all one could do in music in the past half century but dealt with two near fatalities of his own as well as mental illness in his family. Excellent profile for those exploring personal growth and strength of character."
"Not necessarily a pretty story. But one of one truly no nonsense lady with the emotional fortitude to speak out against war and mass destruction when no one else would. Overall message?Pessimism is a copout."