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If you like history, if you like the exploration and the mystery of historical situations, then you will love Digging For The Truth!

DVD Review: Digging For The Truth – DVD And Book Collection From The History Channel

Digging For The Truth: DVD And Book Collection is composed of the first two seasons of The History Channel's hit TV series and the book by Josh Bernstein called Digging for the Truth: One Man's Epic Adventure Exploring the World's Greatest Archaeological Mysteries.

Josh Bernstein is the President and CEO of the Boulder Outdoor Survival School (BOSS) and has degrees in anthropology and psychology from Cornell University. The series premiered in January, 2005 and has since become the highest rated series in the history of The History Channel.

The basis of the show is that each episode typically deals with events or subjects that are not completely understood by modern historians and therefore many of the subjects have some controversy surrounding them. Even though not every theory is explored, Bernstein usually summarizes them during the course of each episode.

He visits with professionals that deal with the subject at hand and many times he places himself in situations that provide a better feel for what those whom he is describing would have felt. Many of the places he visits are not accessible to the general public, and therefore are places that most will never be able to visit. At the end of each episode he tries to pull everything together and put it in context of what most likely happened, or in some cases concludes that there just isn't enough to solve the mystery.

 

Digging For The Truth: Season 1

While I won't go into every episode, and, although each episode stands on it own merit, I will point out some of my favorites. First let me say that if you want to have a hit series, especially about something potentially dry as archaeology, then first you have to have someone who can be cool-looking like Josh "it's not a fedora" Bernstein and then, what they say has to be interesting. This show has both. One other thing that helps is if your first four shows can be grand slams out of the ball park. This show had that as well.

The first show was on the pyramids of Egypt; the second was on the mummy Nefertiti, followed by one about Pompeii, and then finally one on the search for the lost Ark of the Covenant. Each of them was great and sold viewers on the merits of the show. Other great episodes were "Quest for King Solomon's Gold," "Passage to the Maya Underworld," "The Giants of Easter Island," and Mystery of the Anasazi".

The first season really set the tone for the series and the quality of topics explored. The series takes you to the places where the history happened and puts you in the situation which makes you feel like you are there. By exploring alternate theories with the experts, the show lets you see the differences for yourself. Because of this, you get a much better feel for the topic at hand. Bonus features on this set include a featurette called "History in the Making" and a biography of Josh Bernstein. It is contained on four DVDs and is 585 minutes in length.

Digging For The Truth: Season 2

This season started off a little slower as the first two episodes, "The Real Temple of Doom," and "American Pyramids", were not tops of the season, but then things picked up with "Stonehenge Secrets Revealed," "Vikings: Voyage to America," and "Roanoke: The Lost Colony", which were great.

Also good that season were "Cleopatra: The Last Pharaoh," "The Real Queen of Sheba," "The Da Vinci Code: Bloodlines," and "Lost Cities of the Amazon." The bonus features on this season's DVD are "An Interview with Josh Bernstein" and a biography of him. It is contained on four disks and is 611 minutes in length.

The Book

Digging for the Truth: One Man's Epic Adventure Exploring the World's Greatest Archaeological Mysteries is the story of who Josh Bernstein is and how he came to have what many believe is the best job in the world. According to Bernstein, when filming Digging For The Truth, he tries to stay out of the way as much as possible to let the story tell itself. But after a lot of requests and pressure, he decided to write about who he is and how he became the host of Digging For The Truth.

The book 197 pages long and is divided into ten chapters. The first chapter begins with Bernstein's life from his birth, where he almost died, through his acceptance of the host job at Digging For The Truth. His story includes the deaths of his father when he was 15 and his three-year-old sister a year later. It also describes him growing up as a twin — yes, he has a twin brother.

Much of the rest of the book recaps many of the shows from Digging For The Truth. Here the reminiscence is retold in simple captivating passages, and gives some flavor of the experiences of his travels and work with the show.

Some of the chapters include "Stranger in a Strange Land" which takes him to Egypt and the pyramids. Then it is off to find the Lost Ark. This takes him to Saint Catherine's monastery and eventually to Ethiopia. Next he is visiting Bolzano, Italy for the ice man episode where he explores what it must have been like to be the ice man who was found fully preserved.

The rest of the book continues in this vein. He takes you through his various adventures and gives you a feel for what it was like to travel and see the things he has seen. Throughout the book are sprinkled little tidbits that enhance the telling, items like "What's in an Ark?" that explains what is supposedly in the Ark of the Covenant. "Vikings in Minnesota?" explains why Minnesota is the land of the Vikings. These add flavor to the story.

If you like history, if you like the exploration and the mystery of historical situations, then I believe that you will love Digging For The Truth! If you are really wanting the ultimate package, you can get Digging For The Truth: DVD And Book Collection from the History Channel. It is the best deal around. I highly recommend this package.

Episode Listing for Season One:

  • Who Built Egypt's Pyramids?
  • Pompeii Secrets Revealed
  • Hunt for the Lost Ark
  • The Holy Grail
  • The Iceman Cometh
  • Quest for King Solomon's Gold
  • Passage to the Maya Underworld
  • The Lost Tribe of Israel
  • Secrets of the Nazca Lines
  • The Search for El Dorado
  • Giants of Easter Island
  • Mystery of the Anasazi
  • Nefertiti: The Mummy Returns

Episode Listing for Season Two

  • The Real Temple of Doom
  • America's Pyramids
  • Stonehenge Secrets Revealed
  • The Vikings: Voyage to America
  • Roanoke: The Lost Colony
  • Cleopatra: The Last Pharaoh
  • City of the Gods – Teotihuacan
  • The Real Queen of Sheba
  • Troy: Of Gods and Warriors
  • The Da Vinci Code: Bloodlines
  • The Giants of Patagonia
  • The Real Sin City: Sodom and Gomorrah
  • The Lost Cities of the Amazon

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.

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