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War of 1812

31 customer reviews

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War of 1812 + U.S. Mexican War 1846-1848 + The War That Made America: The Story of the French and Indian War
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Editorial Reviews

"The War of 1812" is a two-hour documentary looking at this important historic event from several perspectives, the American, Canadian, British and Native America. The program will have some limited but very well done reenactments and major historians, authors and experts.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Directors: Lawrence Hott, Diane Garey
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: October 11, 2011
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005DJ7B2I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,286 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

82 of 82 people found the following review helpful By wogan TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 18, 2011
This 2 hour DVD presents a complete version of the War of 1812. It has English subtitles and no extras. It does use historians as `talking heads' but their pictured segments are brief enough to not be irritating.

One of the historical views that this film covers extensively is the wide-ranging fighting with Canada that occurred and is usually an afterthought in recounting the War of 1812.
Every aspect of the war is covered, the war at sea, Britain vs. Napoleon, the burning of Washington and the bombardment of Fort McHenry and the Battle of New Orleans; although these parts of the war could have been more detailed, they are well represented.

The conflict with Canada and what Canada remembers as their history and how this really made Canada a nation is all-encompassing in its' scope. The use of the Indian nations and the importance of Tecumseh is well detailed.
This was, as this DVD points out, in many instances a war that is forgotten but had wide ranging effects for the North American continent. The effect on the Native Americans was tremendous. The good, the bad, the mistakes are all brought up. There are many reenactments and some use of period paintings to show the history of this war.

All of the legends and stories that one has heard seem to be included; Old Ironsides, Dolly Madison, even the Ballad of New Orleans is related and conveyed to help understand this war. This is probably the best all round pictured representation of the War of 1812 I have seen.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Ostrowski on December 21, 2011
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I took the opportunity to watch this documentary a couple of nights ago. As a history buff, living here in distant Australia, I knew about the 1812 War and about the Battle of New Orleans as well as the burning down of the White House. I did not know about the American attempted invasions of Canada nor about the British intention to facilitate the creation of a confederated Native American buffer state. The British also freed thousands of slaves and many of these joined the British/Canadian forces.

Had the British won that war, which the Americans started due to British naval blockades during the Napoleonic War, I think the history of the Americas and, indeed, the world as we know it would be very different.

I was thoroughly absorbed by the story and how it was told through expert commentary from American, Canadian, African American, British and Native American historians. I also enjoyed the battle scene re-actments, the diaries of participants and the animations. I doubt whether this production would be available for free to air television in Australia so I am glad I made the purchase. For me, the program was an enlightment about a period of American and Canadian history I previously knew little about.
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57 of 69 people found the following review helpful By John Mark Deur on November 12, 2011
Short two-hour PBS film (by comparison their French and Indian and Mexican War documentaries were four-hours each) gives a somewhat hurried overview of the war from a predominantly a Canadian viewpoint, not suprising as a lot of the funding came from Canadian sources. Most of the on-air historians are Canadian and British, only one American (Donald Hickey from the Wayne State College in Nebraska, not the much larger Wayne State University in Detroit) historian makes an extensive appearance. Indeed, the producers had to revert to a National Park Service ranger to bolster the very limited American on-air presence. Battles on Canadian soil, especially the British victories, are mostly highlighted - many battles on American soil like Chippawa, Fort Stevens (Sandusky), North Point, etc. aren't even mentioned, mainly because the were American victories for the most part? When a major American victory is mentioned, the accomplishment is typically marginized - the stunning victory at New Orleans is basically reduced to a commentary on some 50s country and western TV skit. The common Canadian myth that the burning of Washington DC was "just payback" for the sacking of York (part of modern day Toronto) is repeated - of course, the plan for the British campaign up the Chesapeake including the attack on Washington was set before the battle of York even took place. If you do decide to watch this show, pay close attention how British officers are portrayed compared to their American counterparts - same with the rank and file American troops with their Canadian colonist and "First Nation" (Canadian for Native American) warriors.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By M. I. Raymond on December 6, 2011
I didn't want to do a review of this until I watched the History Channel's outlook on this conflict, and after that, I made me feel that this deserves more attention, in terms of American Documentary's are concerned of this war. Some may not like the 'overwhelming' perspective of the war from Canada, or the majority of the people talking have British accents, but it's vital, considering the first two years of the war was fought in the west (at that time it was the west) and Canada (British North America). Some people may lead you to believe that this war was won on the spirit of America's prevail at Baltimore, and after New Orleans. They don't even talk about how the Native Americans were affected by this war, as they really were the true losers. This war gives you a pretty good perspective of how the war truthfully was fought. Those who get offended by the American's portrayal of constant losses are letting their patroitism impact their judgements on the war, and don't consider how the war is usually portayed as some sort of Second War of Independence, when Expansion, Trade, and Impressment were much more significant factors. The U.S.'s early blunders, and the impacts of the Native Americans (Tecumsuh as well) on the early part of the war are mentioned, as well. It also talks of Baltimore and New Orleans in a more objective way compared to that of THC (The History Channel). My only regret that isn't quite long enough, but that's a minor complaint.

This video is here to portray a much wider perspectives that most we Americans have on this war don't have, for whatever reason(s) that may be. And those who don't know much about it, if anything, needs to start here. And also reading does some good as well.
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