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Modern Marvels: Engineering Disasters (History Channel) (2008)

Modern Marvels , History Channel  |  NR |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Modern Marvels: Engineering Disasters (History Channel) + Extreme Engineering: Collection Two : Episodes Biggest Warship , Big Easy Rebuild , Millau Viaduct , Turning Torso , Transatlantic Tunnel , Subways in America , Tokyo's Sky City , Bridging The Bering Strait
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Product Details

  • Actors: Modern Marvels
  • Directors: History Channel
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: A&E HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: May 27, 2008
  • Run Time: 846 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0012XIGYG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,302 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Error is inevitable in all human endeavors, but when the undertakings are engineering feats of enormous proportions, the smallest mistakes may have devastating consequences. From the Exxon Valdez disaster to a nuclear meltdown at a secret government facility, to the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina, MODERN MARVELS chronicles over 40 of history s most devastating catastrophes and reveals the lessons learned from each one.

In 18 thrilling episodes, HISTORY CHANNEL dramatizes the world s most notorious engineering failures, using state-of-the-art special effects to investigate not only what went wrong, but what can be learned from these spectacular disasters. The catastrophes recounted led to the creation of Superfund sites for the cleanup of toxic waste; improved safety standards for cars, planes, and ships; and new techniques for building roads, bridges, and buildings that will withstand nature s most destructive forces.

Dark clouds with silver linings, MODERN MARVELS: ENGINEERING DISASTERS presents the tragic, yet invaluable, handmaidens of technological progress.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
54 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting and inexpensive collection July 30, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Finally, what I was waiting for: a large collection of case studies (18 episodes in total; at least two disasters in every episode - sometimes as many as six) taken from a large variety of engineering areas. As a chemical engineer and as an instructor, I found this collection very interesting, full of different "case studies" and lessons to learn in a very amusing way.

The episodes includes:
- New Orleans: Hurricane Katrina.
- The fire at Las Vegas MGM Hotel.
- The collapse of Seattle's Lacey V. Murrow Floating Bridge.
- The flaw that grounded the first commercial jet.
- An entire lake and the surrounding land are sucked into a Louisiana salt mine.
- Exxon Valdez incident.
- The Ford Explorer/Firestone rollovers.
- The fire on the Piper Alpha offshore oirlig.
- Computer errors that brought the world to the brink of accidental nuclear war.
- The explosion of a jet-fuel plant in Nevada.
- The Union Carbide explosion in India.
- A devastating flood in China that killed 145,000 people.
- Denver baggage system nightmare.
- Patrior missile failure
- etc.

The only drawbacks are that the DVDs come with no closed captions and no subtitles. Thanks HC.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, should not be overlooked April 21, 2009
Many of the major engineering disasters of the past century are covered. Each episode provides about 5 disasters and during the 8-10 minutes is provided the effect (disaster), the cause and the solution. The dvd menu lists each disaster, so one can go quickly to the disasters of their interest.

The episodes included are #4 through #20, plus Hurricane Katrina is provided as a bonus single disaster episode. Which begs the question, what happened to episodes #1, #2, and #3, as they are not in this set? These early three episodes were generally an overview containing a wide number of disasters in brief detail. I suspect, since these episodes were so good, A&E expanded the series to provide much greater detail and limit each succeeding episode to just 5 disasters.

This set also needs an index of every disaster, either on the dvds, or with a paper insert. I loved the menus as they are so simple and easy to follow, without dumb pictures cluttering the screen.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better Than I Hoped January 20, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This has been one of my best DVD purchases; I highly recommend it.

I bought this for my boyfriend who is an engineer and he loves it, and so do I. I was very surprised and intrigued with the variety of engineering disasters that were presented along with the footage. Some of the best ones I've seen so far were the salt mines (the footage of the barges being sucked towards the whirlpool was unbelievable), the Love Canal, and many of the oil rig disasters. I also learned that underground salt deposits make great natural propane storage tanks.

In each episode there are multiple stories not just one or two; it is definitely worth the money.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding resource May 1, 2012
I'm an engineer who's involved in failure investigations, and I found this series of video presentations to be outstanding, frankly far exceeding my expectations and hopes, given that it comes from the History Channel rather than a technical organization.

A diverse range of types of systems and failures is included, the graphics and historical footage are very useful, experts are routinely consulted to explain each failure, and appropriate lessons are drawn from the failures in terms of both technical and human factors.

No, the presentations aren't perfect. Sometimes the explanations are oversimplified, important details are omitted, and terminology is incorrect. But overall, the strengths of this series still dwarf these weaknesses.

I know of no comparable resource, and the best endorsement I can make is to note that I've started incorporating these videos into the continuing education program in my engineering firm. They're good enough that professionals can benefit from them. Yet, at the same time, they're also accessible for interested laypeople, which is no small accomplishment.

Last but not least, the price is a bargain. Grab this before it's no longer available!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great dvd set July 15, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
My education and career is in engineering and I love documentaries so this was a no brainer purchase. I've re-watched the set multiple times and still find them amazing.

If you've watched any of the Engineering Disaster episodes on tv or online, I'd highly recommend this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Lessons Learned from the Past December 7, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I love watching these true stories of how large engineering works turned out in true life. These give us many lessons learned stories from the past.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth watching February 16, 2013
By Dave
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Very entertaining, even my wife watched it with me! Would love to find other DVD like this. Hours of great entertainment.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great collection April 30, 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a great collection of a great show. Many, many episodes. Wish the video quality was HD but as it's only DVD then it's pretty good.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Safety First !
These documentaries will teach you to take everything seriously.After watching this; I'd prefer to do everything with caution. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Milton Anguyo
5.0 out of 5 stars Engineers opinion
Each historical disaster requires about 10-15 minutes to retell, in a nice blend of real footage, technical diagrams, and expert opinions. Easy to watch. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Paul J. Jensen
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, but dated
I thoroughly enjoyed the episodes and treatment. Engineering issues have always intrigued me. However, the series is a little tired and could use a major refresh.
Published 16 months ago by Vincent Gonzales
5.0 out of 5 stars I can watch these shows over and over
As an engineer myself, I enjoy the thorough failure analysis presented in each of the episodes. They cover a wide variety of incidents and teach us about hubris in design.
Published 20 months ago by Scott E. Darpel
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Video Collection
I purchased this collection for my son whose a double engineering major -- computer and electrical engineering! He loves them!
Published 21 months ago by C. Clarke
5.0 out of 5 stars Gravity wins!! does Mother Nature.
I have been watching these with my son for quite some time. (9 years old) Hoping to spark interest in engineering, proper planning, and how overlooking things can be,,,,,well,,,,,a... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Bill
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth every penny!!!!!!!!
Modern Marvels in general is an extremely well made production. Modern Marvels-Engineering Disasters has to be my favorite series EVER!!!! Read more
Published on October 12, 2011 by JD
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!
Such a great deal for a reasonable price. Great content, some parts have grainy VHS quality but they are 80s era film and are therefore acceptable, overall good compilation. Read more
Published on May 7, 2011 by Hamz
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