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The Men Who Built America 1 Season 2012

Season 1
4.7 out of 5 stars (1,202) IMDb 8.7/10

Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Carnegie, Astor, Ford and Morgan. Their names are part of history. These men transformed every industry they touched: oil, rail, steel, shipping, automobiles, and finance.

Original air date:
November 11, 2012

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Season 1

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1. A New War Begins

As the nation attempts to rebuild following the destruction of the Civil War, Cornelius Vanderbilt is the first to see the need for unity to regain America's stature in the world.

CC TV-PG October 16, 2012 43 minutes
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2. Oil Strike

Kerosene is lighting America after dark in unprecedented ways. The demand for oil is sky high and Vanderbilt knows that oil can fill his trains. He turns to a young maverick oilman from Ohio, John D. Rockefeller, to do just that.

CC TV-PG October 16, 2012 44 minutes
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3. A Rivalry Is Born

Andrew Carnegie immigrates to the United States with his parents and starts working at age 12. He finds a patron in railroad executive Tom Scott who teaches him about the business.

CC TV-14 October 23, 2012 44 minutes
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4. Blood Is Spilled

Carnegie hires a hatchet man, Henry Frick, to help him achieve his goal of besting Rockefellar. The partnership seems promising, but Carnegie does not know that Frick is running his factories far beyond capacity.

CC TV-14 October 23, 2012 45 minutes
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5. A New Rival Emerges

While Carnegie and Rockefeller continue to battle, JP Morgan arrives on the scene and establishes a bank in New York City that has one goal: to further the technological advancements of America.

CC TV-14 October 30, 2012 44 minutes
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6. Owning It All

With an investment from Morgan, the Edison Electric Company is created and begins wiring homes in New York. A rival, Nikola Tesla, soon emerges with a different technology for electric light.

CC TV-14 October 30, 2012 45 minutes
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7. Taking the White House

Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Morgan have gone unmonitored for decades, but American politicians are about to change that. They want these men to fall into line under government control.

CC TV-14 November 11, 2012 46 minutes
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8. The New Machine

A young engineer named Henry Ford devises the plan for a gas-powered car. McKinley is assassinated and his VP Theodore Roosevelt takes office and quickly passes a series of regulations increasing oversight of American business.

CC TV-14 November 11, 2012 43 minutes
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Bonus: The Men Who Built America: Season 1 - Sneak Peek

The Men Who Built America premieres on Tuesday, October 16 at 9/8c, but a special sneak peek is available now!

CC TV-14 October 7, 2012 1 minute
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Product Details

Genres Drama
Season year 2012
Network A&E Television Networks
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

This comes from watching the first two "parts" of the series on TV as they aired. At times, the History Channel can be a history buff's best friend. This series is one of those times. I've seen reviews here and elsewhere complaining about the background audio levels. Personally, if I was to mention a "con" to this series (what I've seen so far), it would not be background audio. It would be historical accuracy. The "flow" is accurate. But they do get some of the specifics wrong. For example, the attempted murder of Mr. Frick did not take place in a hallway, it took place in Frick's office. There were two shots fired, not one, both hitting Frick in the neck region ... the latter of which caused severe bleeding. And, while there may have been a scuffle between Frick and his attacker, there was another person in Frick's office who did most of the scuffling with the attacker. Considering the bleeding, Frick's survival was more of a miracle than anything else. Anyway, accuracy is why I took away one star.

FWIW, on History Channel programming in its totality, I'd give them somewhere between two and three stars. I used to love watching History Channel ALL the time - until they started adding what would best be described as "trailer trash" programming like "Pawn Stars," "Cajun Pawn Stars," and "American Pickers." On that note, the Discovery Channel has also fallen into that trap. Personally, I think the History Channel and Discovery Channel should get together and launch a "Trailer Trash Channel" and consign all programming unrelated to pure history and pure science to that channel ... replacing them with infomercials if need be or (ahem) by just going off the air during those times.
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This show is so well done that you can get into it even if you aren't into history. Beautiful shots, interesting story lines, and all humanizing great men you've previously only heard about through the companies or landmarks they founded. Great choices for music and all brought together with fresh graphics. I also like how they bring in today's moguls to reflect on these amazing men that lived so long ago. Fascinating, well done and good entertainment/drama. Really inspirational to watch too. I was particularly intrigued by learning more about Carnegie since I grew up in Pittsburgh in a school district that had a Carnegie Elementary and then later attended Carnegie Mellon University.

If I had to list a complaint, I don't like that at least 2 or 3 times an episode they do a recap of the whole season. It's unnecessary and annoying. I'd understand if they did the recap at the beginning of each show, but multiple times during one show is redundant and frustrating. It sometimes even makes you think a new episode is starting when it isn't. They should have edited those out.

I know a bunch of people that watch this show that don't normally watch the history channel and I recommend it highly, even if you aren't into history yourself. Enjoy!
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The storyline was very good but too much time was spent rehashing prevously covered information. Series could have been covered in a much shorter time frame without the repetition.
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I am so glad when the history channel does a history program. With this series I learn new things and fill in gaps in my previous knowledge and at the end of each episode I am left wanting for more. This is a good program I hope they keep it up in general, not just with this series. When history is presented in a movie-like entertaining way, people learn. Not only do they learn but they become willing to learn more and even do some reading on it.
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Whenever a discussion turns to the topic of American greatness, inevitably the founding fathers are invoked. While this approach has tremendous merits, it provides only half the picture. Washington, Franklin, and Jefferson lived in a world where the fastest means of transport was a horse and the state of the art in home lighting was a candle. But in less than a century after their deaths that world disappeared, replaced by railroads, steel skyscrapers, and the telegraph.

Understanding how the new America of the 1800s came to be is vital to grasping what formed both our national character and the political and social issues we struggle with on a daily basis. This series provides such an understanding, by focusing on the men who transformed the nation from a loosely knit band of farmers and small tradesmen into an industrial giant stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

It does so in highly dramatic fashion, portraying them as larger than life. But it balances its discussion of their triumphs with coverage of their failures as well. For example, Andrew Carnegie is shown as both a bold visionary and an angry soul driven by greed and a lust for vengeance. Rockefeller is revealed as a man of deep religious faith who never left Jesus' words about meekness keep him from ruthlessly crushing his enemies. One of the major lessons to be learned from their examples is that men with great strengths tend also to be cursed with tremendous weaknesses - something that former president Bill Clinton knows very well.

Production values are superb. Clothing, sets, and even lingo were handled with great care to reflect the period in which the actual events occurred. Some other reviewers have quibbled about the dramatic musical score and some minor historical errors. Drivel.
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2 Comments 6 of 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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