A Well-rounded treatment of 20th Century conflicts.
John A. Kuczma | Marietta, GA USA | 02/19/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Century of Warfare is a somewhat inconsistent but generally satisfying production that mixes flashes of brilliance with equal doses of mediocrity.The strength of this set lies in attention to detail, such as the strong opening episode which examines the political and social make-up of the world from the late 1800s up to the start of the First World War. Factors often overlooked by more conventional military history video productions are given their just due, including a refreshingly thorough examination of the Balkan tinderbox.World War I is given very detailed treatment, particularly in lesser known theaters. For example, the episode entitled Battle Fleets and U-Boats takes the time to cover many secondary naval clashes, as opposed to the usual tunnel-vision emphasis on submarine warfare and the Battle of Jutland.World War II is a weak spot, primarily because there are more comprehensive works available, in particular the masterful "World at War" series. However, given the overall scope of The Century of Warfare, these are relatively minor weaknesses.The Korean Conflict is given more than a cursory look, another conspicuous plus for this production. Many minor conflicts which have been largely ignored (at least by Western historians) are also covered.Production values are excellent, relying on historical footage with no attempt to edit or correct flaws. This insistence on authentic images imparts an almost tangible immediacy and power to the series.The one serious weakness is in the narration. Robert Powell's droning, monotonous reading of the script is an excellent prescription for insomnia but does little to support what is often a powerful and gripping visual record.Taken as a whole, the strengths of The Century of Warfare far outweigh its few weaknesses. This is a superior overview of 20th century armed conflicts, a legitimate bargain for students of military history or anyone wishing to see a major factor in this dynamic and too often tragic period of time."
A well done set with comprehensive coverage
R. Hildebrand | Bellingham, WA USA | 12/01/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This set more than makes up for the "Disaster" (Victory) At Sea collection recently released by the History Channel.These discs are wonderfully mastered, with very few recreations ( and those are subtly done ) plus first rate production values: the sound quality is superb, the music plays quitely in the background and adds to the overall effect, rather than being a distraction. The narration is informative, and well paced. The narration comes out front and center in the 5.1 format, with the music providing stereo effects, and the dubbing of the sound effects is well done, and matches the pacing and content of the original silent film well. There is some minor surround info, but that is not a detriment. The discs break the years/events into well chosen blocks, and the net effect is that a great deal of information is presented, without being dull or overbearing. Some of the early moving footage is particularly rare and has been well cleaned up in these transfers. The narrative perspective tends to be British, talking about the "war of 1914-1918" rather than "World War One" as Americans are used to, but the overall effect is very competent and correct. While admitedly no historian, I didn't notice any real gaffs in either facts or the conclusions as presented.
The quality of the transfers is EXCELLENT, holding up very well even on a big screen ( 47" ) in progressive scan. The image is sharp, and well lit. The intro's are a bit repetitous, but at least they don't everwhelm you in blasting modern stereo and then leave the audio to fade out to inteligibility when you get into the program, and each of the 4 major segements on each disc has a "Play all" button so you don't have to endlessly work the remote or the menus.
All in all, a program which displays everything you've come to expect from the History Channel, and provides a level of enjoyment and entertainment you might wish were found on more such DVD sets.
Well worth the cost, and a bargain if you shop around !"
College level history lessons
it | Sunnyvale, CA USA | 12/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is real history given at the freshman college level. The main information is in the audio with the video as illustrations.
This is in stark contrast to the junior high school level journalism-propaganda type programs on PBS that pass for history lessons.
One shortcoming is that it does not give enough time to the espionage operations of the wars. Another is some minor errors. For example the Bismark is claimed to have been sunk. The captain claimed it was scuttled. Underwater photos of the wreck confirm this.
There are some errors. In the Vietnam portion they describe a general rotating out after two years (standard Army practice) as being relieved of his command. They fail to mention that the final collapse was caused by congress cutting off resupply of critical items such as ammunition. Tet 68 was a US victory. Almost of the Vietcong were killed when they fought to the death instead of retreating. After that the war was carried on by regular army troops of the north who wore civilian clothes. Another error was their inferring that the US public in general had turned against the war by 1972 or so. Nixon won the election by the second greatest landslide in presidential election history. He won over the other candidate who wanted to stop the war immediately and withdraw immediately."
MILITARY & POLITICAL REVIEW OF THE 20TH CENTURY
Kay's Husband | Virginia, U.S.A. | 01/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
Purchased these 7 discs several years ago and upon recent review, am still quite content that we have them. Though everything is pretty much in black and white, the choice and quality makes these films well worth watching.
The 7 discs start with "The Violent Century" or overview of modern war and weapons development ending with disc 7 with the "Gulf War and The Future". With each disc covering in length from 156 minutes to over 200. So the viewer covers a time period from Lawrence of Arabia right though the 'jungles of Vietnam' through the 'liberation of Kuwait'.
With The History Channel involved in this presentation, need more be said. This boxed set will stand alone or compliment any other series a viewer may have. For the historian or military historian, this set is a pleasure to watch. And it seemingly goes on forever.