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Ultimate Guide to the Presidents


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Ultimate Guide to the Presidents + The Men Who Built America + America: The Story of Us
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Product Details

  • Actors: History Channel
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Lionsgate
  • DVD Release Date: May 28, 2013
  • Run Time: 368 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00B4TAXXK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,902 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

America's unique form of democracy separates power among three branches of government: the legislative judicial and executive. The President of the United States who heads the executive branch holds the position that most embodies the aspirations of the American people. Join HISTORYr for a fresh perspective on how the Oval Office has evolved over the past 200 years through stories about and learn about the 43 men who have served as Commander-in-Chief -- from George Washington to Barack Obama. This 8-hour miniseries concentrates on the ebbs and flows of presidential power and responsibilities as each of America's leaders deal with the events expectations and challenges of his time.

Customer Reviews

Having said that I would add that the material in Ultimate was useful, but not what I expected.
Amazon Customer
A great overview of all the presidents, the history of America through their presidents, their contributions and shortcomings.
Margie Winthrop
When Great Britain and France declare war and Washington decides to sign a neutrality agreement, people are outraged.
Mary

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Mary on April 8, 2013
When I was asked to review this new DVD series from the History Channel I thought it would be a collection of biographies of the men that have held the office of President of the United States since George Washington assumed the office on April 30, 1789. Although, it began with George Washington and worked its way through each successive office holder, it quickly became clear to me that the focus of this new 2013 production was directed toward each man's presidential politics and how the policies of each administration ultimately shaped the role of government in its citizens lives and in the world community of nations.

Perhaps the best way to illustrate the difference in this new production is to compare it to an earlier award-winning series produced in 2005 for the History Channel entitled simply "The Presidents" since they appear to cover the same material.

Of course both series start with George Washington. The 2005 documentary begins by telling us interesting little facts about George Washington, the man. We learn he loved to dance the minuet and collect American landscape paintings. He enjoyed interior decoration, personally decorating the interiors of his home at Mount Vernon. He also dabbled in fashion design and designed various military uniforms. Thomas Jefferson said he was the best horseman he had ever known and Washington's white horse was named Nelson.

We learn Washington was considered a good judge of character and not someone who simply wanted "yes men" advisors. He selected the first cabinet and it was composed of really talented and experienced men including Thomas Jefferson who served as Secretary of State and Alexander Hamilton who became the first Secretary of the Treasury.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By The Movie Man VINE VOICE on June 2, 2013
"The Ultimate Guide to the Presidents" is a three-disc DVD collection chronicling the American Presidency over the past 200 years. Offering unusual stories, this eight-episode History Channel series provides a fresh perspective on the 44 men who have served as Commander-in-Chief, from George Washington to Barack Obama. It concentrates on the ebbs and flows of presidential power and responsibilities as each of America's leaders deals with the events, expectations, and challenges of his time.

One of the most interesting revelations is that the Founding Fathers originally regarded the office of President as administrative, merely to rubber-stamp legislation passed by Congress. Washington didn't want the job, but when he finally accepted it, he made the office more powerful than envisioned, setting a number of precedents, including appointing a Cabinet.

The best aspect of the series is the way the various presidents are personalized. We get to see how each responded differently to criticism, crises, and public outcry in a job that eventually came to be labeled the most powerful position in the world.

Bonus material includes over 30 minutes of footage never before seen on TV.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By MrQ on February 10, 2014
For anyone recently taken over by an interest in our nation, especially the Presidency, this is a good intro. It truly is difficult to find a work that mentions all the United States Presidents without it being a mammoth multi-volume bore (except for that remaining 10% who stay with it).

This series gets a big kudos for that. It lays our nation out in chronological order with every President and his major "hits" (both the good and the bad) getting enough air time to plant a seed. It is narrated with just the right amount of actual photos, motion pictures, graphics, and current events of those times to make it interesting.

The negative? The incessant personal commentaries from current "historians" who speak as if they were there with each President, having intimate knowledge of each man's feelings about this or that issue; spewing forth big sweeping generalizations about the American people's mood---why they voted this way or that---overlaying current mores over past eras, world affairs, etc. It does get a bit old and irritating. On the other hand, without the dramatization it would be difficult to draw in the typical disinterested American of today.

Whether you stream this series or pay a lousy twenty bucks for it, one could spend their time with far less useful and entertaining endeavors than watching this [overview] Guide to the Presidents.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Collins on September 20, 2013
The President of the United States is the head of the executive branch of the U.S. federal government and is also seen as the "leader" of the United States. In the long history of the presidency, many different men and personalities have occupied the office.

The Ultimate Guide to the Presidents is essentially a remake and update of History's previous presidential presentation from 2005. Like the original, this series sets out to look at every person that has been president. Through quick-paced editing interspersed with interviews from historians, each president is looked at. This includes some of their personality traits and the major events that occurred during their administrations.

The series does a decent job of covering the major events without too much detail. After all, even throughout eight forty-five minute episodes, only so much can be explained. The fast pace of the show means that it never gets boring.

My two disappointments with the series comes with their coverage of two different eras. The series mostly glosses over a few Gilded Age presidents, such as Rutherford Hayes and Benjamin Harrison, and basically writes them off as "weak executives." It would have been nice to see a mention of even the rather minor accomplishments of these men such as civil service reform under Chester Arthur. The other concerns the four most recent presidents. All four are given scant coverage and it almost seems like the modern era was tacked on the end of the last episode as an afterthought. This is particularly ironic when it is considered that their portraits adorn the cover of this DVD set.

In conclusion, I found this to be an interesting, if only sometimes incomplete, look at the personalities and accomplishments of the forty-four Presidents of the United States. I would recommend this to those interested in presidents or American history.
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