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If you are interested in history, the American Revolution, or the history of wars, then The American Revolution is definitely a must-own.

DVD Review: The American Revolution – One Nation’s Rise To Independence From The History Channel

The American Revolution: One Nation's Rise To Independence is a collection of ten documentaries that chronicle the war of independence beginning with the first rumblings that could be heard as early as the French and Indian War and concludes with the signing of the Treaty of Paris which secures American independence.

The American Revolution: One Nation's Rise To Independence contains over eight hours of History Channel and A&E programming and is presented on five DVDs. The first three DVDs contain the American Revolution materials and the last two DVDs present biographies of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Paul Revere, and Benedict Arnold.

Disk one contains the segments "The American Revolution: The Conflict Ignites" where we are shown the elements that lead up to the eventual war with England. It examines the war of ideas that eventually set the stage for the "shot heard round the world". "The American Revolution: 1776" examines how, once we had open conflict with England, we selected a Virginia farmer to head up the Continental Army. It also shows that the leaders tried to come to some agreement with the King, but he would have none of it; and that led to the drafting and signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Disk two begins with "The American Revolution: Washington & Arnold" and shows how after defeats in New York and Long Island and being on the ropes, Washington crosses the Delaware and captures Trenton and Princeton. Under Arnold, the British suffer further defeats at Saratoga. At this time Franklin is also negotiating with the French to declare war on England and recognize America as new nation. "The American Revolution: The World At War" describes the bitter winter at Valley Forge and how the soldiers are forged into a superior army. Shown here are the Battle of Monmouth, the western clashes between the loyalists who fight against the likes of George Rogers Clark, John Butler, and Daniel Boone.

Disk three contains "The American Revolution: England's Last Chance" which finds Benedict Arnold guilty of treason as he escapes to Britain. The war is also being fought on the high seas, with Captain John Paul Jones defeating the British frigate Seapis in a battle on the North Sea coast of England. Also featured is the victory at Charleston, the Battle of Cowpens, and Cornwallis' retreat to Virginia. "The American Revolution: Birth of the Republic" concludes the revolution with Cornwallis's surrender to Washington at Yorktown on October 19, 1781, and the signing of the Treaty of Paris two years later. Finally there is a look at what happened to the key figures who participated in this war.

Disk four features "Biography: George Washington – Founding Father" which takes a close look at the man behind the myth, who symbolized the spirit and values of the world's first democratic nation and looks at how the only man who could have taken complete power of America and become king set the precedent of remaining in office for only two terms. It also features "Biography: Benjamin Franklin – Citizen of the World," which examines the creator of Poor Richard's Almanac, the post office, the public library system, and the man who negotiated with France for the recognition of the infant America.

Disk five examines "Biography: Paul Revere – The Midnight Rider" and how large a role he played in the American Revolution. As a courier and spy, he helped organize the Boston Tea Party and enraged the British. "Biography: Benedict Arnold – Triumph and Treason" explores the story behind the man who, as a hero, defeated the British at Ticonderoga and nearly made Canada the 14th colony, and as a traitor, turned over documents to the British. Examined here are the questions: "Was he forced into this position?" and "Did he deserve his ignominious fate?"

This DVD set is really a fascinating exploration of the history of the American Revolution, done in a style that is both entertaining and educational. The set is really two different yet complementary sets of programs. The first is The American Revolution: One Nation's Rise To Independence which works out to just over five hours in length. The second is the Biography portion which is just over three hours in length.

As a revolutionary history buff, I found The American Revolution: One Nation's Rise To Independence to be very accurate, at least to the degree that can be contained in something of this length. While I was very aware of most of the information contained in the programs, I learned a few additional tidbits, such as the biography of Joseph Plum Martin and how it is used as a primary source of the Revolution.

While I would like to see a more in-depth treatment of the revolution, this set paints an accurate and interesting account and is very well done. It would be great for individuals as well as teachers of history for supplemental information.

The Revolution segments are hosted by Bill Kurtis; each segment is set up with what you are about to see and ended with a summary as well as a teaser about what is coming up next. The Biography portions are from the A&E Network productions of each title. If you are interested in history, the American Revolution, or the history of wars, then The American Revolution: One Nation's Rise To Independence is definitely a must-own.

About T. Michael Testi

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

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