Simon Schama's The American Future: A History
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To coincide with the US elections of 2008 comes this refreshing antidote to the whir of sensationalist spin and scandal, measuring up to the seriousness of the moment without diluting the excitement of campaign politics. After 9/11, after Katrina, Enron and Baghdad, the robustness of American optimism is struggling to reassert itself against the sobering reality of military frustration and domestic anxieties. This is an America grappling with an un-American sense of its own limits. Turning to fascinating moments in American history to understand the present, connecting legendary presences such as Thomas Jefferson, Henry Ford, Mark Twain and General Lucius Clay with contemporary soldiers, businessmen, truckers, schoolteachers and (even) politicians, this series offers a timely and gripping vision of the United States - past and present - facing its moment of truth.]]>
- The original U.K. series with 40 minutes of unseen footage
- Includes a special introduction by Simon Schama filmed on November 5, 2008
- Due to contractual reasons, certain music edits have been made
Top Customer Reviews
His view of the American past - especially its treatment of its Asian, African and Latino minorities - is clear-eyed and often heartbreaking with its carefully researched and simply elucidated tales of cruelty, abuse and neglect. But with every new sorrow he balances his sadness with tales of brilliance, courage, honesty and truth from the likes of Thomas Jefferson, Montgomery Meigs (Quartermaster General under Lincoln) and John Wesley Powell, the geologist-explorer of the Colorado River and Grand Canyon. It is through these tales of moral courage and intellectual honesty that the true greatness of the unfinished American experiment reveals itself and in which its future hopes reside. Schama examines the difficult immigrant experience and as an immigrant himself he embodies all of its poignant dreams for a better future.Read more ›
We today are struggling with division on religious matters, on racial issues, on the notion of what it means to be an American, on the use of our national resources, and when and why we go to war as a nation. On each of these matters, Schama examines our past, sees that we have struggles with these things before, and suggests the national resources that we've employed to deal with them in the past.
Schama shows how we have deeply ingrained national suspicions of other races, not merely blacks and Hispanics, but the Chinese and others. He also shows our amazing resilience in assimilating new ethnic and racial groups, and how this has perpetually enriched us and empowered us as a nation.
Schama examines the roles that religion has played in American life both as a liberalizing and reactionary force. I was especially happy about this, because as a religious person who is also very liberal in my politics, I'm proud of the way that evangelical religion has historically been at the forefront of progressive, liberal causes, only moving to the right in the past generation. Religion played a major role in denouncing and eliminating slavery, and later in promoting civil rights and racial equality. (Schama could have likewise have explored the role of religion in the furthering of public health, women's rights, public education, and ethnic tolerance.)
The role of the military and the militarization of national policy has been one of the most disturbing changes in American life since WW II and it remains the one area of American culture that I remain most concerned about.Read more ›
The four episodes are a bit uneven, with the stronger episodes being the last. Where the show may falter a bit is in the attempt to pull together what is an extensive and multi-faceted history of a large country into a short episode of only about an hour. This is essentially an impossible task, and when the series attempts to do so in one of the earlier episodes, anyone familiar with some of the details of American history will immediately see the issues in attempting to do so.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Schama can make anything interesting. I will buy and rebuy anything he puts out.Published 6 months ago by Mary Baldwin
It is always enlightening to see how the United States is viewed by other countries. I enjoyed "A History of Britain" presented by Simon Schama in which he quite objectively... Read morePublished on July 27, 2012 by Stephen W. Moore
They lost the sale for me the minute I read in the synopsis that Barack Obama is America's best hope for restoring the world's faith in our government. Read morePublished on July 21, 2011 by M. Pizzullo
Doesn't any one notice that Amazon may be the only company that acts against its own self interest and publishes reviews that may stop a sale? Read morePublished on January 28, 2010 by Raymond I. Spangler
I agree with Mark bennett "Mark" and wish I could have read it as fast as his four hours, I wasted 12 hours,Published on August 24, 2009 by John P. Durbin
While presented as a "history of the american future", this work in reality is little more than strong political advocacy. Read morePublished on April 8, 2009 by Mark bennett
Once again, Simon Schama does what he does best: tell a good story in an engrossing, firm way that makes you pay attention to what he's saying. Read morePublished on March 30, 2009 by Robert Lee Landrum Jr.
I was surprised that I enjoyed this DVD as much as I did. It was great. The reason I bought it is that my son's band has a small part in it so of course I bought it for that but... Read morePublished on March 7, 2009 by Mom-Mawmaw Vickie
Simon Schama's The American Future: A History
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