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The Founding of America Megaset

4.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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(Feb 24, 2009)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The inspiring early days of America the personalities, the battles, the bravery, the losses, and even the romance spring to life in spellbinding detail in this sweeping 14-DVD set from A&E Home Video.

FOUNDING FATHERS and FOUNDING BROTHERS examine the relationships of the very human men who risked their fortunes and lives for independence. THE REVOLUTION recounts great battles, devastating losses, and miraculous victories. BEN FRANKLIN and BENEDICT ARNOLD: A QUESTION OF HONOR look at the critical roles played by both men--one a hero, the other a traitor--while WASHINGTON THE WARRIOR and THE CROSSING pay tribute to the soul-stirring leadership of our first president.

With performances by Kelsey Grammar, Aidan Quinn, and Jeff Daniels, rare archival material, and commentary by leading historians, THE FOUNDING OF AMERICA presents historical programming at its comprehensive best.

DVD Features History in the Making: The Revolution ; Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes; Behind-the-Scenes "History in the Making"; Declaration of Independence episode of SAVE OUR HISTORY; The Many Faces of Ben Franklin ; Timeline; Anecdotes; Quotes; List of Innovations and Inventions; Benedict Arnold: Triumph and Treason (50-minute Biography episode); Cast Biographies/Filmographies

Review for Founding Fathers:

The four programs from the History Channel in this set profile America's Founding Fathers, noting right at the outset they were a "mismatched group of quarrelsome aristocrats, merchants, and lawyers." The story of how these disparate characters fomented rebellion in the colonies, formed the Continental Congress, fought the Revolutionary War, and wrote the Constitution is told by noted historians, and the production is enhanced with beautifully photographed reenactments as well as intelligent use of period paintings and engravings. The story begins with Samuel Adams and John Hancock in Boston, whose protests against British taxation led to the Boston Tea Party. Moving on to the Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia, the brilliant delegates from the South, particularly George Washington and Thomas Jefferson appear on the scene, and the story is told of how an improbable cohesion between the colonies began. Other main characters, including Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, appear in turn, and each of the major participants is portrayed in a biographical profile. How these men all came to act together, despite the stark differences in their backgrounds and temperaments, becomes the main thread of the story. They were all quite human, as the historians who appear in interviews remind us. Some of them drank too much, some had illegitimate children, some owned slaves, and some could hardly get along with anyone. Yet these men with complicated private lives worked together and performed heroically. This is an intelligently rendered and captivating look at the men who formed the American nation. --Robert J. McNamara

Review for Founding Brothers:

The political wrangles of a fledgling country may sound dull compared to the drama of a war, but the early history of the United States only gets more fascinating as the Revolutionary War is left behind. Founding Brothers, a documentary from the History Channel, examines the struggle to not only establish democracy, but to give it the economic strength and governmental structure that will allow it to survive and thrive. George Washington grappled not only with politics, but with questions of style and propriety--how should a president, as opposed to a king, behave? Understanding the conflicts between Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson will illuminate ideas that have shaped the government of the U.S. ever since. Founding Brothers provides a wealth of portraits and illustrations from the time, as well as discreet dramatizations, that bring the rise of party politics to life, humanizing these historical figures with tales of the scandals and squabbles they faced as well as their political achievements. An excellent introduction to the roots of the American experiment, and a bracing illustration of what Jefferson meant when he said of the presidency, "No man will bring out of that office the reputation which carried him into it." --Bret Fetzer

Review for Washington the Warrior:

He was "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen," and Washington the Warrior puts the emphasis on the beginning of that equation. The military career of George Washington is the well-chosen focus of this History Channel documentary, which will probably surprise the casual history buff. It gives the fascinating story of Washington's youthful ride into the Ohio territory to deliver a message to the French, a defining moment (and one that made Washington a celebrity after his diary of the journey was published). The film strongly suggests that the young Washington was in over his head in the early battles that followed, and that his career might well have ended after he led a British debacle at Fort Necessity, a stumble at the start of the French and Indian War. Glossing lightly over GW's years as a gentleman farmer, the doc picks up again with Washington's takeover of the Revolutionary army (he showed up at the Second Continental Congress dressed in his military uniform, leaving little question about his intentions) and the tenacious years that followed. The approach here is basically an illustrated lecture, with Stacy Keach intoning the story of Washington, and experts (mostly sounding enthralled with Washington's life) providing context. Meanwhile, armies of reenactors march through their paces in pretend battles. Jackson Bolt plays the mature Washington, with Shea Patrick as the younger version--and how refreshing to see the carved-in-marble George Washington as a guy in his twenties. CGI effects are a big boost here, and the location work is often flavorful. The re-creations have the flat, unconvincing quality of many such things--nobody ever gets their uniforms dirty--but the life being described is an important one, and the approach is foursquare. --Robert Horton

Review for Benedict Arnold: A Question of Honor:

The most sullied figure of the American Revolution receives partial redemption in Benedict Arnold: A Question of Honor. Produced for the A&E network, this factual drama reveals the lesser-known circumstances of Arnold's dishonor, beginning in 1777 and chronicling his fall from greatness. The conquering hero of Saratoga and other victories of the Revolution finds himself in an impossible predicament, his allegiance torn between his British loyalist wife (Jane Brennan) and his paternally devoted commander, George Washington (Kelsey Grammer), as his Colonial detractors cast him into a tragic no-win scenario. Authentically detailed and blessed by playwright William Mastrosimone's poetic period dialogue, Benedict Arnold successfully explores the personal and political facets of a great soldier's downfall. Aidan Quinn's expressive melancholy perfectly suits his title role, and Grammer transcends Frasier, lending appropriate gravitas--and some physical resemblance--to his portrayal of America's future president. Like A&E's earlier film The Crossing, this is compelling historical drama, entertaining, intelligent, and emotionally complex. --Jeff Shannon Review for The Crossing: Every American knows that George Washington crossed the icy Delaware River in the War of Independence, if only from Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze's famous 1851 painting. The made-for-cable-TV historical drama The Crossing, scripted by Howard Fast from his novel, corrects at least one piece of historical invention--Washington did not stand and pose for the occasion of Leutze's portrait--but, more importantly, it frames the event in the real-life drama that made it a decisive moment of American history. Jeff Daniels makes a fine General George Washington, the quiet, dignified, and increasingly desperate leader of the volunteer Continental Army. By December 1776, six months after the Declaration of Independence was signed, the tired and hungry army had retreated to the far banks of the Delaware River, a mere fraction of the original 20,000-strong force. Knowing that defeat means the end of the revolution, Washington takes the offensive in a dangerous surprise attack that turns the tide of the war. Like the sprawling Civil War epic Gettysburg, The Crossing takes one incident of the Revolutionary War and digs into the whys and wherefores that make it vital history. It lacks scope and spectacle--major battles appear more like modest skirmishes--and lapses into patriotic fervor at times, but it brims with rich historical detail and comes alive with the stories of officers, soldiers, and a very human George Washington. --Sean Axmaker

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Kelsey Grammar, Aidan Quinn, Jeff Daniels
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 14
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: A&E HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: February 24, 2009
  • Run Time: 1634 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001IB2ZAS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,245 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

This is a worthwhile set to purchase with excellent info... some are done in a documentary style while others are actual films about the lives of these famous historical figures and events. A lot of information you would not learn in school.

However, after watching a few of the DVD's, you start to notice that the info has become repetitive. You start seeing scenes from previous DVD's and the same info recut over and over again. On many, 3/4ths of the info is repeated and recut from prior DVD's adding just a few extra minutes of new info to each section. Some of it gets so repetitious that you begin to question if you are watching the same DVD as before. Thus, the editing jobs are terrible and not sequentially done. So the same things keep getting redone by recutting the same footage. At least 4 DVD's are wasted duplication... but if you don't watch them, then you miss the 10% of new info included. I marked 4 stars because of this deliberate repetition of recutting the same scenes to create extra episodes. I guess they think no one would notice?

There are also contradictions between the DVD's. One says Washington was 6'4" while another says he's 6'1" while yet another says he's 6'3.5" so it is evident that no one person was responsible for info continuity. One DVD on Washington was obviously written for the ego's of the authors of books on Washington who are doing the interviews and it leaves out his entire childhood.

However, the DVD on Benedict Arnold is exceptional. He is repeatedly mentioned throughout the DVD's, but one DVD is a movie of his life. I learned a lot of new things. I had been programmed to react to his name like everyone else... but I learned what caused him to do what he did and felt quite sorry for him after seeing the facts...
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This is a beautiful set. Great set for someone that loves US History or History Channel documentaries.

set contains:

Disc One
Founding Fathers:
* "Rebels With a Cause"
* "Taking Liberties"

Disc Two
Founding Fathers:
* "You Say You Want a Revolution"
* "A Healthy Constitution"

Disc Three
Founding Brothers:
* "A More Perfect Union"

Disc Four
Founding Brothers:
* "Evolution of a Revolution"

Disc Five
The American Revolution:
* "The Conflict Begins"
* "1776"
* "Washington & Arnold"

Disc Six
The American Revolution:
* "The World at War"
* "England's Last Chance"
* "Birth of the Republic"

Disc Seven
Ben Franklin
Save Our History: "The Declaration of Independence"

Disc Eight
Washington the Warrior

Disc Nine
Benedict Arnold: A Question of Honor
Biography: "Benedict Arnold: Triumph & Treason"

Disc Ten
The Crossing

Disc Eleven
The Revolution:
* "Boston, Bloody Boston"
* "Rebelling to Revolution"
* "Declaring Revolution"
* "American Crisis"

Disc Twelve
The Revolution:
* "Path to World War"
* "Forging an Army"
* "Treason & Betrayal"

Disc Thirteen
The Revolution:
* "The War Heads South"
* "A Hornet's Nest"
* "The End Game"

Disc Fourteen
The Revolution:
* "Becoming a Nation"
* "Road to the Presidency"
* "A President and His Revolution"
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Verified Purchase
I have been wanting to buy this voluminous tomb for a few years and finally bought it when it went on sale. And what a buy this is. Wow.

In the 29 hours this collection takes, there's so much information here that after listening to this one could probably pass a Colonial American History exam and pass with flying colors.There are 13 separate History Channel productions here in one collection, from the Founding Fathers and Founding Brothers, to The Revolution (alone an awesome, spell-binding work), Ben Franklin and The Crossing. If you already own these sets separately, the price of this collection may not be worth it.

This compilation of 13 works produced through the History Channel/A&E collected into one 12-disc set accounts for some repetition and even a few contradictory comments about some of our Founding Fathers. (For more detailed reviews of these separately, just go to the respective DVD in question) Regardless, all throughout this set one gets the typical History Channel trademark reenactments, talking heads and dramatizations of these events.

My new personal favorite is "The Founding Fathers." Here you hear about the excessive drinking, dubious characters, feuding personalities and unethical behavior of some of our Founding Fathers. It's nice to hear the truth about some of these men without making them appear to be villains in disguise.

On a technical note, the set is nicely presented in a hard cardboard set. Two discs per holder are folded inside this set. It looks very nice on the bookshelf.

A perfect gift for the early American History fan.
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A must have. I want to tie down my Leftist friends and make them watch. In fact this should be mandatory for all public schools if not all citizens! dont get me started! The SELLER i had slight prob with which turned out to be my error. He was all class and integrity. But I digress...these DVDs will make you appreciate America more, yet make you sad and frustrated at how far we have strayed from what was intended. The founding fathers would not believe our country today.
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