The Century-America's Time (Boxed Set) [VHS]
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51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 1999
This work is simply splendid. Viewing these videos in their chronological order will refresh your memory and cement your knowledge of the important events of your century. Jennings is marvelous: his voice is warm, intimate and authoritative. The writing is near poetry in places, as it weaves the events into a unified narrative. The pictures are superb in both content and technical quality. The original music score is wonderful, making the work highly dramatic and cinematic in places. A documentary commemorating a century of history should be great...and this one is. The next time someone tells you history is boring or that TV only delivers drivel to the masses, point them to this landmark work.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on August 11, 2002
This video, The Century, America's Time, hosted by ABC
's Peter Jennings, served me well as a U.S. History high school teacher. The reason I liked it so much was because it brought to life in short, 10 minute summaries, key events of the twentieth century. Hosted by Peter Jennings, it had a much more contemporary feel to it than similar historical summaries. The narration was snappier and held the attention of my students better than let's say a PBS or other History channel type visual documentary. It supplement's any Twentieth Century U.S. History course because it capture's the emotional context that a text-book cannot reveal. I found my students had a much better grasp of the times when I supplemented the text with these visual snapshots of key events during the century. Because key events are broken down into 10-20 minute segments, it lends itself to the attention span of classroom students and instruction very well. Most documentaries go on for 45 minutes straight on one topic. This was extremely well done. If I had only 1 video series to pick from to capture the flavor of the twentieth century, this is the one I would buy!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 1999
Not only was I fascinated by the stories of each generation...I now have a gift that I know will be watched over and over again, for my parents, who have lived through most of this century (87 years)! Not an easy task!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2000
I have showed several of the videos in this set to the students of the high school history class that I teach. My students seem to find the topics very interesting because they are not presented in the usual dry "documentary" fashion. Hint for teachers - The History Channel website (that also sells this video for twice the price) has a great study guide to go along with this set that includes vocabulary words and discussion topics!
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2004
it's not available on dvd? In a few years, if I want to show my kids this documentary, I'm going to have to pull out a machine that is almost obsolete.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2001
History can be an incredible story, and in this documentary it is told with gusto, excitement, and great poignancy. Using clever and creative editing, a captivating musical score, excellent archival footage, and Peter Jennings' masterful narration, The Century: America's Time is captivating from start to finish. Highly recommended.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2000
I love history. It fascinates me, but especially American history, especially the 20th century. This school year, I have taken a unique, new course at my school, titled: 20th Century World. As a teaching tool, my teacher has shown the movie for each decade whenever we've started that decade as our next unit. Even the kids who usually sleep through class sit and watched it with great interest. It makes you feel like you're there. For example, yesterday we watched the video for the 80s. Through the segment about AIDS and gays, my entire class was sitting there saying, "Ohmygosh, I never knew it was that bad." or "That is so sad." Through every decade, The Century: America's Time has offered a personal touch to every event, instead of making it boring. Every event mentioned on this documentary has affected our life today, and this documentary actually makes you think about how it has.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 8, 2001
This set is a great overview of some of the most important moments in America's history over the last 100 years. Unlike other similar video series, this one seems to take a look at the larger picture of American history, focusing and piecing together many periods of time and showing how they all interconnect and lead to the next rather than going into great depth on specific events. My only disappointment was that there was not more to watch, as I would have loved to have seen more of the great video clips and images that are part of this series. Some of the video shown is amazing, and really shows the emotion of these moments and brings them more fully to life. Highly recommended, and a great learning tool for those who may initially be uninterested in history.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 1999
My wife and I don't live in front of the television, but somehow we found ourselves in front of every edition of the 6 night event that these tapes capture. As Peter promised, this series doesn't simply retell familiar stories. It reintroduces them with 21th century hindsight, and finds the story of the story. You don't have to be a history buff to feel welcomed into the mysterious, strange world which was our last century. Enjoy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 19, 2001
Unlike most similar "documentaries" (CNN's comes to mind), "The Century" isn't just a decade-by-decade grab bag of all the most popular trends, fads, and movies. The approach is thematic; each episode tells the STORY of a chronological section of the past 100 years. Thus, the chapters aren't broken up into meaningless decade chunks, but spans of years that make sense as a "period". It's as much sociology as it is history; the people commenting on times and events are, for the most part, "the common man". When well-known people do show up, they're likely to tell about listening to FDR on the radio when they were children, or wandering the country jobless in the 30's. When movies and other pop culture items are referenced, it's usually in service to the historical theme ("Easy Rider" for the late 60's cultural clash, "The Man In The Gray Flannel Suit" for Eisenhower-era corporate conformity).
The true test of this series for me was its inclusion of the death of Princess Diana in the final chapter. To me, this would seem to be the sign of a lightweight "nostalgia" collection, a "big" event that was meaningless historically and culturally. Yet, they made it work. Placed in the context of the infotainment celebrity-as-religious-icon media overload of the 90's, it made perfect sense; the ultimate global-village celebrity spectacle (not to mention a neat bookend to the century that started with Queen Victoria's death).
Not deep, not exhaustive, but purposeful and well told.
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