THE PRESIDENTS is an unprecedented eight-part survey of the personal lives and legacies of the remarkable men who have presided over the Oval Office. From George Washington to George W. Bush, THE PRESIDENTS gathers togethe... more »r vivid snapshots of all 43 Commanders in Chief who have guided America throughout its history--their powerful personalities, weaknesses, and major achievements or historical insignificance. Based on the book To the Best of My Ability, edited by Pulitzer Prize-winner James McPherson, THE PRESIDENTS features rare and unseen photographs and footage, unexpected insight and trivia from journalists, scholars, and politicians such as Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley, Wesley Clark, Bob Dole, and former President Jimmy Carter. Viewed within the changing contexts of each administration, the Presidency has never seemed more compelling and human. Narrated by Edward Herrmann (The Aviator), this three-DVD set is a proud addition to the award-winning documentary tradition of THE HISTORY CHANNEL®. DVD Features: Feature-length Bonus Program "All The Presidents' Wives"; Timeline of U.S. Presidents; Interactive Menus; Scene Selection« less
Genres:Television, Documentary Sub-Genres:Television, Politics Studio:A&E Home Video Format:DVD - Black and White,Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned DVD Release Date: 05/31/2005 Release Year: 2005 Run Time: 6hr 0min Screens: Black and White,Color,Widescreen Number of Discs: 3 SwapaDVD Credits: 3 Total Copies: 0 Members Wishing: 4 Edition: Box set MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated) Languages:English
Kyle Vanover | Ashland, KY United States | 05/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The History Channel re-aired this series recently in a marathon one Saturday. I was at work, and it was a slow day, and we happened to turn on the TV when the programs were up to about Abraham Lincoln, in the early afternoon. For the remainder of the day, besides a few minutes here and there of having to take phone calls, my co-worker and I were absolutely glued to the TV. When 4:00 came around, I got home as quick as I could, and my fiancee and I saw and watched at least another hour of the program together.
Of course, the programs are not as in-depth as some of the more serious history buffs might have hoped for, but they were great for providing not only a general overview of each President's administration, but also for giving you a sense of the feel of the times in which each President lived; plus there was plenty of misc. trivia along the way - "useless information", as I like to call it - and I loved that, as well, because it's just interesting stuff that you would never hear in a history class.
My fiancee and I intend to buy this program and show it to our kids one day, because it seemed very much to us like something that would be good for them, and we plan to put a lot of work into their education.
In short, we HIGHLY RECOMMEND this series."
It's better with just the audio
J. Sellenrick | Chevy Chase, MD | 01/20/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Like a previous reviewer, this is my first-ever review on amazon because I felt this series was absolutely butchered by the editing and use of images.
Not only do the images flash across the screen so quickly that you cannot absorb them and they give you a headache, but it is done in a repetitive and even misleading manner. In a series about all the american presidents you'd expect to see a few shots of the white house. However, the same shot of the white house is used over and over and over, and when you get tired of that, they shoot it from a different angle and show that over and over and over. It's very distracting to watch. It's almost like they couldn't think of anything for an image half the time, so they went to that tired old shot of the white house, over and over again. I think if they put some time into it they could have found hundreds of paintings, photographs, newspaper articles, statues, locations and objects to shoot video of. Heck, even more shots of the inside of the white house would have mixed it up some.
Worse than that is the inherent misleading nature of presenting modern video (with cars!) of the white house, capitol or Washington, D.C. while you are talking about events 200 years ago. The entire city of Washington looked very different than it does today and 80% of the presented video is not accurate to the time period it is talking about. They constantly zoom in on the capitol dome when the dome was not finished until 1863, and constantly show the wrong facade of the white house for the period. At one point they talk about John Adams creating the U.S. Navy while they show a jet landing on an aircraft carrier and a submarine surface (but no shots of any ships of the period).
Sometimes the image being shown is even completely misleading. For example, when talking about ford's theater they show a wide shot of a small church in the countryside and then zoom in to the real ford's theater sign that says "ford's theater." When talking about the senate they show the interior of the library of congress. When talking about a print shop in philadelphia they show a random building in williamsburg. When talking about Congress Hall in Philly they show a shot of Independence Hall. When talking about the early years of diplomacy with Great Britain and France they repeatedly juxtapose Big Ben, the Washington Monument and the Eiffel Tower as imagery when NONE of those had been built yet.
These things go on and on until it gets more and more painful to watch. The script and information presented is actually not bad, though I thought they missed a lot of great opportunities to color the characters with more interesting anecdotes and stories.
Bottom line is, turn your tv off and play it through your stereo. The information is great but the video renders it unwatchable and even misleading. If you can't do that, read a book on the subject."
A MUST have!
mickeymouse2003 | 10/24/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I absolutely LOVED this program and have learned so much from it. the ONLY criticism I have is that, in the beginning segment of each president, they have a little info card that flashes accross the screen so fast, you can't read it all unless you pause your dvd.
other than that, it is an absolute wealth of information. I have so much more respect for the presidents now. it seems that just about every one of them - even the 'bad' ones - really tried to make this country better. so many institutions and organizations were made from these presidents, and I didn't even know that until I saw this."
The Presidents, in brief....
D. S. Thurlow | Alaska | 03/04/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"2003's "The History Channel Presents The Presidents" is a nicely done survey of our first 43 presidents. Each President gets a concise description of their time in office, buttressed by short commentary from various historians and a few prominent personalties. The segements include paintings, pictures, photography, and as we get closer to the present, motion pictures of each man.
No great historical depth is promised or delivered here. The intended audience is clearly the general viewer, many of whom will have forgotten some of the more obscure presidents. The narration is short, punchy, and tone-neutral. For presidents who served before the era of widely-available television, video dating as far back as the terms of William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, turns these men from statues into real, breathing, moving human beings in context.
This DVD series is highly recommended as an introduction to the history of our presidents, suitable for a wide variety of interested viewers."
Pretty evenhanded until the modern era--then the Leftist bia
Roger J. Buffington | Huntington Beach, CA United States | 05/11/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This presentation of The Presidents is pretty good until about the post-Eisenhower era. After that the modern day bias of the press kicks in. This is unfortunate, because most of this series is terrific, and gives a pretty evenhanded summary of the presidencies of most of the presidents. By doing so this series gives the viewer a wonderful look at American history and the place each of the presidents occupies within it.
Lyndon Johnson gets a very sympathetic hearing from this series despite the fact that he is responsible for the Vietnam disaster. The bias really begins with Richard Nixon, who is virtually caricatured. The press hated Nixon's guts, and this comes through very clearly in the treatment that "The Presidents" dishes out to him. (I am no big Nixon fan, but this series wrongly states that he escalated the Vietnam War when in reality he promptly began drawing down US troop levels in Vietnam, notwithstanding his attacks on Communist sanctuaries in Laos and Cambodia.) Jimmie Carter's failed presidency mostly gets a pass for its disastrous failures on both the domestic and international fronts. The series makes no mention of the crazed levels of inflation and interest rates that occurred on Carter's watch. His feckless foreign policy is portrayed through rose colored glasses--Carter himself informs the viewer that Carter learned how "to work well with others." Watching this series, one would conclude that Carter was a successful president, rather than the one-term failure that he actually was. (To this series' credit, it does a fair job analyzing Gerald Ford's presidency.) Ronald Reagan is introduced as "a former movie actor" rather than as, for example, the former two-term governor of California. Nothing is said of the speed that Reagan's countermanding of Carter's policies had in reviving the American economy and position abroad. Instead, Reagan is portrayed as not very bright, and "out of the loop." His economic and tax cutting policies "simply caused deficits." Bias can go little further. Put simply, this series' portrayal of Ronald Reagan's presidency is unacceptably biased, and a good example of why the American people no longer place any trust in journalists or the press. George HW Bush is portrayed as having been "wise" to break his promise on making tax cuts, and the series (without rebuttal by anyone) intones that the Bush and Clinton tax increases ("which were probably a good idea...") helped fuel the boom of the 90s! I suppose it was too much to hope that modern-day journalists could avoid the big government, pro-high tax bias that so permeates the modern-day press. An objective look at our recent presidents will no doubt have to wait until America has a more unbiased press interested in reporting the news, rather than pushing a single leftward political bias.
But enjoy! Excepting the last four or so presidents, this is a fine series, well worth the viewer's attention."