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Customer Review

57 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I will not retreat a single inch, and I will be heard." -William Lloyd Garrison, January 9, 2013
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This review is from: American Experience: The Abolitionists (DVD)
This production is filmed in a unique fashion. It's a mix of documentary presentation (with interviews with various historians, as well as narration), and a large amount of reenacting of events in the lives of pioneering abolitionists, such as Frederick Douglas, John Brown, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and William Lloyd Garrison. The end result of these efforts is riveting and highly informative. I was sucked in when I started watching this on PBS, and I couldn't turn away.

A stunning level of attention was applied to the set pieces that are used for the acting portions of the program. Everything from the majestic plantation homes of the south to the wardrobes is rendered with great care. The cities of period Boston, Baltimore, and New York are similarly recreated with great success, though they are shown in limited scope (which is understandable, given the presumably small budget). Even the horse and buggies (not to mention the dirt roads they traverse) seems to ring of genuine authenticity. Granted, I'm not an expert on history, but I was sold on everything, and instantly transported to another time. Also of great use is that the acting is top notch, and the HD presentation provides fantastic resolution.

Please be warned that there are some scenes, which while brief in length, are disturbing. Lynch mobs and whippings are depicted, though they are not graphic, nor is the violence in any way gratuitous. Given the serious subject matter, the inclusion of this limited violence is certainly understandable.

I wholeheartedly recommend this program not only to fans of American history, but to all citizens of the U.S., for it does an admirable job of presenting the stories of some of this country's greatest heroes- those who dared to oppose the institution of slavery at the expense of their own safety, and in the face of what seemed insurmountable opposition.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 20, 2013 7:37:11 PM PST
An Old-Timer says:
An otherwise intelligent review about a very truth-telling series regarding something that brings up issues still not settled in this country 150 years later. The Emancipation Proclamation, something well-known to all Civil War history buffs, but thoroughly unknown to the general public, is observing its sesquicentennial this month. It is distressing to see references to Harriet "Beechman" [Beecher] Stowe, which simple proofreading should not allow to slip through. It is something all too common in these reviews.
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