PBS Cobbles Together a 5-Part Set on the Civil War Review

Considering how many programs PBS releases on DVD each month and of those how many are educational, their ability to produce anthology or box sets of related episodes from different series might be unparalleled. Proof of that comes in the form of their set America and the Civil War which blends episodes of NOVA and The American Experience together into a 5-part collection that covers some very random topics that all fall under the larger umbrella of Civil War-era history.

While many of the classically important elements of your general American history class are touched upon, like Gettysburg and Reconstruction, the content also looks at more niche aspects of the war like ironside battleships and the all African-American regiment of Massachusetts. It’s eclectic, but it’s also quite captivating. The five features collected in the set are the standalone documentary Gettysburg: The Boys in Blue & Gray, The American Experience episodes “John Brown’s Holy War”, “Reconstruction: The Second Civil War,” and “The Massachusetts 54th Colored Infantry”, and the NOVA episode “Lincoln’s Secret Weapon”.

“John Brown’s Holy War” may prove the most challenging and insightful nowadays considering John Brown is rarely covered with anything more than mere lip service to his efforts as an abolitionist. The American Experience gives a far deeper look into his life and analyzes the beliefs and events that changed him from a man to a hardened revolutionary fighting to end slavery. It’s a great documentary.

DVD Bonus Features

There are none.


"America and the Civil War" is on sale August 28, 2012 and is not rated. Documentary, Education.

Lex Walker • Editor

He's a TV junkie with a penchant for watching the same movie six times in one sitting. If you really want to understand him you need to have grown up on Sgt. Bilko, Alien, Jurassic Park and Five Easy Pieces playing in an infinite loop. Recommend something to him - he'll watch it.


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