War: Volumes 1-3
Burns really should have been locked up for even thinking about
such a project.
years in the making, a massive 11 hours of TV using still photos
in a world of live-footage freaks, no big-name actors or flashy
gimmics, just true stories reported about - and people who witnessed
- the cataclysmic split America suffered between 1861-1865.
Civil War is a landmark production so superior to almost anything
else ever produced for TV - it is rivalled only by The World at
War - it may never be equalled.
And now, at last, The Civil War has made it on to DVD and
it is the perfect show to have on disc.
DVDs allow you to navigate through the massive series and easily
find something you wanted to look at again.
used over 16,000 still photos in the epic production and came up
with an innovative way of filming the images and thereby adding
a stylish form of movement while getting incredible detail out of
the old plates.
music of the Civil War period is usually lively and brings an interesting
counterpoint of life to the darker images and details of the bloody
battles that killed more Americans than any wars since.
title music, the haunting Ashokan Farewell will get in your blood
and you may find yourself unconciously whistling it.
McCullough, the narrator, has an absolutely magical voice - as has
a very impressive lineup of character voices who read from personal
diaries and letters of eyewitnesses to the battlefield carnage,
political goings on and life on the homefront. They include Morgan
Freeman, Jason Robards, Sam Waterson, Derek Jacobi and Jeremy Irons.
in to that mix are explanatory to-camera pieces by eminent historian
Barbara Fields and celebrated historical writer Shelby Foote, who
is the epitomy of a Southern gentleman.
transfer on to DVD is very good, although not pristine, but who
the heck cares? This is riveting stuff.
all, however, The Civil War stands as a monumental achievement
of managing to encapsulate the bitter struggle between the North
and the South in an enthralling way.
40 million Americans watched it first time around and if you want
to see something truly wonderful then you'll do so too.
One: The Cause
one would expect this examines the major causes of the American
Civil War and the leading players on both sides.
is looked at and while that itself did not cause the war, abolitionist
activist John Brown's (of John Brown's Body fame) attack on a southern
armoury at Harper's Ferry certainly speeded things up.
main reason for the war was the key issue of states' right and whether
they could vote to leave the American Union. Whatever the causes,
the first major battle at Manassas (Bull Run) was a humiliating
defeat for the much stronger North.
Two: A Very Bloody Affair
1862, as both sides settle into preparations for a long and drawn
out war, the world witnesses the first clash of ironclad ships -
the Merrimac and the Monitor - and the politics as European nations
get close to recognising the Confederacy (South) as an independent
the Union has the bigger army it cannot find a man to lead it and,
desperate to turn things around, President Abraham Lincoln goes
for a drinker and failed businessman in Ulysses S. Grant.
result is the battle of Shiloh.
Three: Forever Free
the middle of 1862, Lincoln is in real trouble and wants to use
the freeing of slaves (only in the South however) as a way to unite
the North and lessen the likelihood of European intervention in
needs a battle victory and General George McClellan is about to
deliver him one - the bloodiest day's fighting of the war - at Antietam.
Four: Simply Murder
was the crucial year in the war and the North began it with a disaster
at Fredericksburg, a sound beating at Chancellorsville.
sentiment in the North was brewing while, in the South, wartime
deprivations were hitting civilians hard.
Five: The Universe of Battle
episode covers the turning point in the Civil War where 150,000
men battled it out in the three-day clash at Gettysburg.
tide begins to move against the South and Lincoln makes his stunning
Gettysburg Address. The battles of Vicksburg, Chickamauga and Chattanooga
Six: Valley of the Shadow of Death
two leading generals of the Civil War, General Robert E. Lee and
General Ulysses S. Grant, are compared in detail and this examination
leads into their struggle for Virginia in 1864.
a month both men lose more soldiers than in all the previous battles.
re-election, Lincoln looks like losing both the race for the presidency
- and the war.
Seven: Most Hallowed Ground
focuses on Lincoln's fight for political survival - and that of
the Union - but his commanders give him battle victories at Atlanta
and in the Shenandoah Valley.
lifelines once again swing the tide of the war in favour of the
North and General Lee's house is commandeered by his enemies for
use as Arlington National Cemetery.
Eight: War is All Hell
upon the side you supported in the Civil War you'll have mixed feelings
about General Sherman's "March to the Sea".
no-holds-barred campaign saw incalculable destruction throughout
the South and finished the Confederacy as a serious threat to the
his armies exhausted and vastly outnumbered Lee surrenders at Appomattox
Nine: The Better Angels of Our Nature
defeated, some in the South dream of ultimate victory and plot to
five days after the end of the war, John Wilkes Booth shoots and
mortally wounds the president.
final episode wraps up the series and looks at the effects the war
had on America.
also tells you what happened to all the characters you have listened
to while watching and rounds the whole thing off beautifully.