This 10-episode set devotes a video to each decade of the 20th century, and the results are mixed. The approach is fairly standard, utilizing archival newsreel footage or videotape shot for news programs to document the m... more »ajor events of each decade as well as using interviews with scholars and commentators to occasionally provide perspective. As the century began with hand-cranked film cameras and closed with endless news coverage on cable television, there is a great variety of material to draw from, and much of it is fascinating. However, devoting an hour or even more to each decade means that there is never much depth, and there is also an unfortunate lack of varying viewpoints. Most of the people interviewed in the various videos have a leftist perspective and, in some cases, such as the presentation of the Reagan years, the imbalance of viewpoint is striking. These videos do provide good overviews of the decades, and major events and characters are rendered in general terms, but at times a lack of depth and some curious editorial choices are frustrating. Still, the documentaries in this set do cover a tremendous amount of ground, and for the most part they do it in an entertaining and informative manner. --Robert J. McNamara« less
Genres:Educational, Documentary Sub-Genres:Educational, History Studio:MPI HOME VIDEO Format:DVD - Black and White,Color DVD Release Date: 05/30/2000 Original Release Date: 01/01/2000 Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2000 Release Year: 2000 Run Time: 12hr 45min Screens: Black and White,Color Number of Discs: 2 SwapaDVD Credits: 2 Total Copies: 0 Members Wishing: 1 MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated) Languages:English Subtitles:English, Spanish, French
The most leftist, anti-Reagan, anti-Israel video ever!
Kelly Ann Berg | 08/19/2000
(1 out of 5 stars)
"As the main review of this video indicates, the entire series is presented from a single leftist (not liberal, but truly leftist) perspective. In addition, executive producers WALEED ALI and MALIK ALI paint a very anti-Israel -- bordering on anti-Semetic -- picture of events, and never miss an opportunity to denounce Israel while glorifying Yassir Arafat and the PLO. The more recent footage of the 1980's and 1990's is clearly anti-Reagan and anti-Bush. And all the failings of Clinton are brushed aside and blamed on the media rather on the man himself. If you want a balanced perspective, buy some other video (if there is one). This one was just too one-sided, even for a liberal-leaning individual like me."
Great film survey of an entire century
Robert Schwartz | Princeton, NJ USA | 02/06/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I found this a fascinating overview of a topic that is too big for 12 hours of film -- 10 decades of mostly U.S. and some world history. There is a good balance of topics between wars-and-dates, popular culture and personalities, and the changes in conditions of regular people -- workers, soldiers, immigrants, and women.An ongoing theme is the evolution of things we now take for granted, such as access to information, equal rights, a decent standard of living, and core American values and civil rights. Most events are dealt with only briefly, an unfortunate necessity given the medium. But the topics, images, and film clips are always interesting.I read the reviews here before I saw the DVD and was watching for a left-not-just-liberal slant, but I saw very little for most "hot button" topics mentioned. There is little time even spent on Israel and the Palestinians, for example. And the internment of Japanese-Americans in WW II got only a brief mention, much shorter than the time devoted to "Casablanca."Yes, the film was sympathetic to the rights of minorities, but it didn't focus much time on Civil Rights except during the 60's. Yes, early Socialists were portrayed as idealistic in response to capitalist excesses, but Stalin and Mao were portrayed as evil. Nixon's achievements at home and abroad were praised as brave and underappreciated, while his personality was portrayed as contributing to his downfall. The survey of Clinton's presidency focused mostly on scandals.Perhaps recent events are still too fresh for either the film's makers or its viewers to see in a fully "historical" context. I found the coverage of the recent decades adequate, but I was even more interested in the presentation of the early decades and the portrayal of various cause-and-effect trends across the decades.I recommend this 4-sided DVD set, and think it is worth your time. It comes with a table of contents that lists the 100+ chapters, and a very detailed 35-page index. I wish it or its Web site ...included more depth about the myriad of topics that are touched upon, or at least references for further reading, but I guess that's what the library is for."
Good review of the century
C. Williams | Chatham, VA | 11/21/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I find this set of DVD's as a good (not great) review of the 20th century. The 80's and 90's do have a liberal bias, but the rest of the decade is very well balanced. My only dislike is calling the 1920's presidents "the best of the second-raters". Any true scholar of the 20's would see the decided lack of understanding with that era. As a student and teacher of history (MS in Social Science and MA in Education) I tend to look for extreme bias as the hallmark of a lack of scholarship - this series is one that I use in class to INTRODUCE the era. For this purpose alone it is well worth the money.
I heartily recommend it for use in the classroom and as a way to familiarize oneself with the era."
Excellent overview of 20th century history
Stuff | California, United States | 05/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My middle-school-aged son is studying American History, so during a recent sick episode, I brought home these tapes. He was completely engaged and watched all the episodes in a 2-day period. I consider myself a political moderate, and had read some of the reviews accusing the producers of serious left-wing bias, so I was pleasantly surprised by the balance and moderation in the reporting. I did not feel any need to jump in and present alternative viewpoints -- I was very impressed. I thought it was quite fair, given that it covered such an enormous length of time."
Great for teachers
Kelly Ann Berg | New York, NY | 08/31/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I am an American History teacher and this is an indispensable resource for me. I use it for my Global History classes as well."