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Faces of America

4.5 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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$13.20 & FREE Shipping on orders over $49. Details Only 10 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

What made America? What makes us? These two questions are at the heart of the new PBS series FACES OF AMERICA. Using the latest tools of genealogy and genetics to explore the family histories of 11 renowned Americans. Looking to the wider immigrant experience, Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. unravels the American tapestry, following the threads of his guests lives back to their origins around the globe.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Henry Louis Gates Jr.
  • Directors: John Maggio, Leslie Asako Gladsjo, Sue Williams, Stephen Ives, Amanda Pollak
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: April 13, 2010
  • Run Time: 240 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0033XUH9A
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,158 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Steve Ramm TOP 100 REVIEWER on April 6, 2010
This four-part, four-hour series aired on PBS earlier this year. Co-executive produced and superbly by Henry Louis Gates Jr. - the Harvard professor who is one of the leading historians on African American culture and history - this show will keep you engaged from beginning to end. No, it's not a history of African Americans - though one of the 12 "well known" persons (I hate to call them celebrities) is back (poet Elizabeth Alexander).

What Gates and his team (note there is no "Director" listed on the main credits) did was find 12 folks you've probably heard of and traced their lineage back at least 4 generations - in some cases as far back as 15 generations. (One of them is a distant cousin of Charlemagne! I won't tell you which one though.) The diverse group includes skater Kristi Yamaguchi, chef Mario Batalli, comedian Stephen Colbert (you learn how his name pronounced), cellist Yo-Yo Ma (you'll learn where his name Yo-Yo came from), Director Mike Nichols, Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria (a true Tex-Mex woman as you'll see), actress Meryl Streep and even a real Queen (Queen Noor of Jordan!).

The stories are not told linearly and Gates - who not only meets with the subjects in their own home or workplace, but also travels the world - jumps back and forth. Batalli and Nichols show up in Episode One but don't come back until Episode Four. Streep seems to be in every one, as does Colbert. For much of the fourth episode the discussion turns to genealogy through DNA testing. Fascinating, but a bit more complicated than the physical research covered until that point.

Each of the subjects gets a unique surprise finding and I'll not spoil the fun for you by revealing any of them here. I found the Ma family history and Mike Nichols to be the most surprising.
Read more ›
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I first viewed this series on PBS not too long ago. Dr. Gates does a wonderful job when conducting genealogical research of his guest. I was just as surprised and fascinated as they were about their ancestry. Hopefully Dr. Gates will continue this series with not only well known people, but us regular folks. Excellent series.
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I have a favorite story here -- that of Yo-Yo Ma -- but it doesn't stop there. Kristi Yamaguchi's story is also deeply moving.

And when it is revealed to Latina Tex-Mex actress Longoria that she and Yo-Yo Ma share an ancestor, she leans forward and asks about Yo-Yo Ma --

"He's Mexican!?"

Warm, and rich, it will stretch your imagination and understanding of the actual history of the US, and the complexities of the US's fabric. At the same time, this series shows that we are all more alike than different. Kudos to Professor Gates for his wonderful generosity (see his gift to Yo-Yo Ma!), which is given not only to the celebrities upon whom he focuses but to all of us.

Don't miss this!
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Like his follow-up series "Finding Your Roots" Henry Louis Gates Jr exams the history of the family of celebrities. But instead of following 3 celebrities through their journey, the show has a topic and a number of celebs from a list of 12 are spotlighted. By the end of disc you learn the lives of these people. Always great production done through PBS. A must see.
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Henry Louis Gates Jr. selects a collection of various well-known Americans of apparently different ethnocentric origins. He researches their ancestry and deoxyribonucleic acid to find out things about the background of each person and then presents the finding to them and us.

The presentation is in four one-hour parts. Each part has the same subjects. They are just taken back further in history or a different facet of their lives. The presentation style is in sound bite form where Henry goes round robin form one person to the next and back again. This does not necessary follow any logical pattern.

However, we find this fascinating and makes one speculate about one's own origins. There are more in-depth presentations and more detailed in how they go about it. Nevertheless, this program stands well on its own.

"Who Do You Think You Are?" (2010 TV series documentary) U.S. version of the BBC series

Who Do You Think You Are? - Series 1-4 - 12-DVD Box Set ( Who Do You Think You Are? - Series One, Two, Three & Four ) ( Who Do You Think You Are?: Series 1 - 4 & How To Trace Your [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.2 Import - United Kingdom ]
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I had seen it on Public Television & wanted a copy of my own. I loved the fasinating stories of all the people finding out their roots,the history of their ancestors. It is wonderful what science has done to be able to trace our history through the blood & saliva tests. This series had brought so much information to us about ourselves & our long extended families.

The only problem I had with it was that it is little choppy going back and forth with the different people. Even with that I absolutely loved it and thus it gets a 5 Star ratin from me. Lousi Gates Jr. has though his different series brought all who view his programs a new & better understanding of ourselves
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Henry Louis Gates, Jr. searches the genealogy of twelve famous people and all are surprised by the ancestors they knew nothing about. Many of them had common ancestors.
I found the revelations fascinating.
I have a family tree of the Prescotts, my mother's relatives who came to Massachusetts from England (and I even met some of them), but I know little about my mother's father's family, who I think also came from England.
I know little about my father's parents except that my grandmother came to Missouri from Germany (I thought from Danzig, which is now Gedansk Poland), but I contacted my sister who found some relatives who will have better information. I believed that my grandfather came from Dodge City, Kansas, presumably from a Welsh family (Jones is a Welsh name). When I was a child I spent many summers with my father's parents, but I learned little about their ancestors.
I would like to trace my relatives, but I am not famous so it is unlikely that I will appear on Faces of America 2. I will have to do the work myself (maybe I'll find some American Indian or African relatives).
I have 7 DVDs and 1 blu-ray by Dr. Gates, and I have learned a lot from all of them. I have another on the way: Wonders of the African World from 2003, which runs 330 minutes. Since few Americans have studied African history in school, I know little about the subject. I did read all the books I could find in the library about the heroes of the slave revolt in Haiti when I was in middle school.
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