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The American Civil War (Videobook)

2.7 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Jan 11, 2011)
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$3.90 $2.34
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(Sep 25, 2012)
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Editorial Reviews

So prophesied Abraham Lincoln, in a speech given on June 16th, 1858—two years before his election to the Presidency would trigger the collapse of national unity. The cause—a fundamental paradox in the country’s architectural plan. Built as an experiment in freedom, America remained committed to the institution of slavery, and its foundations were cracking under the strain. The American Civil War creates a vivid portrait of America’s greatest internal crisis, from the first antislavery protests to Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. Along the way, this series examines the moral, political, and strategic forces that set brother against brother for more than four years, in what is generally understood to be the first modern war. Created by some of the most respected producers and historians of the genre this set entertains, educates and conveys a message that should remain with us all. With the help of several thousand living history re-enactors, The American Civil War goes beyond the fog of war and allows you to experience the glory and heartache of the battles that changed war forever.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: None
  • Directors: None
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Black & White, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Madacy (Music Distributor)
  • DVD Release Date: September 25, 2012
  • Run Time: 474 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B007ZULBH4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #508,404 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I got this set at Sam's Club for ten bucks and thought it would be some cheap educational entertainment. I was wrong.
The first half an hour or more is an overly drawn out history of slavery in the America's and much more than was needed to set the stage for war.
I've only watched the first two DVD's and don't know if I will waste my time on the rest. I don't understand how they can spend 15 minutes giving a detailed account of the Battle of Mill Springs but only a minute or so on Shiloh.
My biggest problem is with unforgivable historical mistakes. At first I wasn't sure. There would be little things I would hear and think, is that right? I wasn't absolutley sure until they continually labeled the Battle of Perryville as happening on October 4th 1862 when I knew for sure it was the 8th. It validates the questions I had on the accuracy of the account of Antietam, Perryville, and Fort Donelson. I really don't care enough to go back and double check. This is just a poorly made DVD series.
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Format: DVD
If you find it hard to believe that a 5 DVD set would cost less than $20, you'll learn why when you watch the first DVD. The visual portion consists mainly of spliced scenes from old movies, a wholly inappropriate way to present history. The narrative is informative if you are new to the topic, and the text contains a few moving moments, most notably when they imitate Ken Burns method of reading eyewitness accounts, but the program lacks a compelling dramatic structure, making the overall result unsatisfactory.
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Format: DVD
This inexpensive three DVD set tries mightily to clone Ken Burns' masterful THE CIVIL WAR, but it falls far short. Made up partly of still graphics with voiceover recitations of wartime reports and correspondence and partly of filmed reenactments, THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR definitely will hold the viewer's interest, but it breaks no new ground at all in presenting the Civil War in word and image. Everything presented here has been presented elsewhere, and generally with better quality.

Beyond the obviously low budget with which the producers had to contend a number of irritating historical errors have crept in to this documentary. When discussing historical figures, a portrait of the named person generally appears onscreen. In the case of Gideon Welles, U.S. Secretary of the Navy, his name is consistently misspelled "Wells." This is an example of basic fact-checking laziness, and is really intolerable. Worse yet, after the Battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg (July 1863) the film picks up its narrative in the late winter of 1864, some nine months later. The gap in time is inexplicable and unaddressed, and gives the viewer an incomplete history and stamps it as a second-rate work.

Lastly, and perhaps leastly, the documentary displays a very subtle but definite prejudice toward the Confederate cause. Civil War era songs about "shooting Billy Yank," detailed descriptions of even minor Confederate victories, and narrative descriptions of "the graybacks gallantly charging" give the documentary a partisan feel, especially in the near absence of counterbalancing comments in regard to the Union.

The one advantage this set has is price, so if you are interested in the Civil War but can't afford the far superior work by Ken Burns this is an adequate stand-in until such time as your pocket can stand the strain.
1 Comment 3 of 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
I actually bought this DVD set through another website but it is the very same one!
My wife could not get the menu to work at all on any of the 5 CDs.
To get each DVD to play she would have to basically stop the DVD and then press the play button.
We did not even bother to try and watch the "bonus" DVD.
I have contacted the seller for a full refund which I hope to get.
Personally I would recommend sticking with a known "brand" of either The History Channel or PBS.
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Format: DVD
I bought this dvd set thinking I would recieve such a bargain, but I was wrong. This DVD set is not very good at all. The dvd quality is terrible! Mostly old movies with a voiceover, I found this to be distracting. The only good part of this set is that a copy of "Glory" was included but not in its DVD case but a sleeve. I would stay away from this set unless you want Glory with extra dvd's containing info on the civil war. Get Ken Burn's CIvil War for the best experience.
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Format: DVD
Not as refined, taut, or gripping as Ken Burns' work, this does serve as an excellent introduction to Civil War history. And the price is unbeatable. Consider that Both sets are of similar length, and that Ken Burns' Civil War is over $100... quite an investment. (Worth it if you can afford it, however) Though low budgeted, the filmmakers do quite a lot with stock footage, photos, and reenactments.

The version of "The American Civil War" I purchased came packaged with a widescreen copy of "Glory". Which was certainly welcome as well.
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The American Civil War (Videobook)
This item: The American Civil War (Videobook)
Price: $12.99
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