Sunday, May 2, 2010

Relive History

Most of us will admit that we weren't around when the Mayflower landed, the Civil War broke out, or Women earned the right to vote. We might have family that were came over on the Mayflower or fought in the Civil War. Some might have family that were alive when women won the vote but most of us weren't there or at least I know that I wasn't. This is why I was so excited today to find a new series on the History Channel entitled, "America: The Story of Us" which airs Sunday evenings at 9/8c.

Now it looks like I missed the first two episodes but I was able to catch up on at least part of one and all of the other during their recap today. Basically, this is the history of our country from the first settlers until now and narrated by Liev Schreiber. Starting with the Mayflower, from what I saw went until the beginning of the Revolutionary war and the next episode dealt with said war. The episode that aired tonight took us through slavery and into the beginning of the Civil War and next weeks episode looks to cover that.

I was really impressed with the way this is being told. Firstly, I happen to love the History Channel seeing as how I love history as I would guess most of us do being as we are researching our personal history. In saying that I have watched many different shows and documentaries that they have featured and expect nothing short of excellence from them and this is no exception.

Not only do they have Liev narrating but a host of others sharing their thought on the history being discussed. Everyone from former Navy Seals to General Colin Powell. There are historians, professors, politicians and even Henry Louis Gates who is a well known and respected genealogist. They also have entertainers such as Sheryl Crow and John Legend. Trust me you will recognized many faces as they share what they know and feel of US history and the path that has lead us to this point.

I highly recommend this series to anyone interested especially with "Who Do You Think You Are" completing their series on Friday. This will be a welcomed place holder. Sure it isn't focused directly on genealogy but I believe it will give you some extra insight into the times when our ancestors lived. An added bonus is that there are re-enactments and during those they have letters, transcriptions and other source material that almost make you feel as if you are right there in the action. I personally just learned that during the time right before the Civil War some freed black men or run-away slaves worked on whaling ships because it was a way to stay clear of those searching for them and to make money to send back to their families. They even had a note from one such man that was read as they were showing a ship battling against a whale to harvest it's oil for lamps of that time.

This would also be a great series to gather the family for if you have small children. My younger cousin who is ten was here for part of the time I was watching it and she mentioned that how she knew that Sacagawea was married when she was sixteen. She then asked why would anyone get married so young. When I started to explain that the life expectancy of that time frame was so short her eyes got really wide. No one had ever explained to her about the dangers of pioneer life.

If you, like myself, missed any of the first few episodes they are available for download on iTunes as well as you can watch them online by clicking here. They also have the whole series available for pre-order and the first episode on DVD for purchase.

In short if you have the opportunity I strongly encourage you to to take a couple of hours out of your Sunday evening and travel through the history of America. It is well worth the trip.