Rick S. (professor1976) from RUSTON, LA Reviewed on 11/12/2007...
A very good series in the tradition of fine History Channel productions.
Good Civil War Refresher Course
Todd | Phoenix, AZ | 08/09/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The History Channel's "Civil War Journal - The Conflict Begins" is a collection of four episodes detailing some of the significant events prior to and during the early days of the American civil war.Each episode is 43 minutes in length and is a self-contained documentary focusing on one particular subject, person, or group. Each episode provides a very nice summary of the event and/or people involved and the corresponding effect on the overall war. Although the episodes are arranged in chronological order, they can stand independently and can be watched in any order without affecting your understanding of the material.Danny Glover lends his voice as the narrator of all four episodes and keeps the story flowing. (He really can't pronounce the word "Massachusetts," though, which is a little grating on the nerves during what was otherwise my favorite episode - the one titled "The 54th Massachusetts.") Comments are liberally provided from various historians, particularly the well-known William C. Davis, author of the recently released "An Honorable Defeat: The Last Days of the Confederate Government." Having recently become interested in civil war history, I bought this DVD set hoping it would be a useful and quick refresher course that would provide a general background into the major events of the war. Definitely not disappointed, I constantly found myself realizing that not only was the series a good refresher, it actually was quite entertaining. The episodes are very well written, unfold with quite a bit of drama, and contain a surprising number of interesting little-known facts (at least they were new to me). I'm looking forward to further releases of the "Civil War Journal" series and will certainly add them to my library."
Civil War Journal is the best series of its type
Fruit Loop | Down South | 08/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Far and above other purported documentaries, including Burn's "The Civil War", this set examines the beginning of the war, the catalysts in the conflict and the motivations of the pivotal players. John Brown's raid, often ignored in studies of the Civil War, did indeed help set the stage for the inevitable split between the states. Madman to the south, martyr to the north, he helped ignite simmering differences into a firestorm. THe history of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry is also covered much better than the longer but Hollywoodized "Glory." Beautifully narrated by Danny Glover, this collection is a must for serious historians, reenactors, students of the Civil War, and fans of the tv series."
A TERRIFIC LOOK AT THE BEGINNING OF THE CIVIL WAR!
Steven Hancock | Winston Salem, NC United States | 12/22/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Civil War was the conflict that transformed our divided country into a nation. The beginnings of America's bloodiest war are explored with "Civil War Journal: The Conflict Begins," which collects four epiodes of the acclaimed documentary series. The first episode in the set deals with John Brown and his raid on Harper's Ferry, which is believed by many historians to be one of the key incidents that lead directly to the war. Although well put together like the other episodes, this one seems to excuse the brutality of Brown, and cast him in a light of martyrdom, when he was really a madman. The other three documentaries though are a real treasure. The battles of Fort Sumter and 1st Manassas are given overviews that are moving and accurate. While not entirely connected with the beginnings of the war, the documentary on the 54th Massachusettes Volunteer Infantry, the first all-black regiment in the Union army, is equally impressive. Despite the weak first documentary, this DVD set is a good primer for those who are studying the Civil War, as well as a good refresher course for others. Grade: B+"
Solid DVD on the civil wars begining
Rhett D. Sorensen | Provo, Ut USA | 10/09/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The first disc includes John Brown and his assault on Harpers Ferry. It was pretty good, but did lack some detail such as his financial backers, "The Secret Six". Still, it was pretty good and pretty engaging. The second episode on the first disc was on Fort Sumter and the Conferderacies first strike. Again, it was a solid representation and had good info, but not ground breaking by any means. The second disc had covered The battle of Manasses, AKA Bull Run. A solid episode, fin and had enough of the basic info and covered some lesser known aspects as well. The last episode was on the 54th Massachusetts and the black regiment that led the assault on Fort Wagner. It was more historically acurate than "Glory" but not nearly as fun. Still, I enjoyed it, but it made me want to watch "Glory" when it was over. All in all it was a solid production. Nothing earth shattering, and may be boring if you are really serious about the civil war. For the casual historian and civil war person, like myself, it was worth watching and was a good refresher course. It had enough info that I don't yet feel the need to reread "Battle Cry of Freedom" or Leckies Civil War book. If you are a Civil War beginner then this is perfect and will give you a solid basis for furhter studies."