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Educational DVD Selections - American History

National Geographic's Inside the White House (1995)
The history of the most famous house in the United States is a fascinating one, and this video seamlessly blends aspects of that monumental past with present-day behind-the-scenes access.
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The filmmakers were allowed to shoot preparations for a state dinner hosted by President and Mrs. Clinton for Boris and Mrs. Yeltsin -- from the setting of 1,500 pieces of White House china to the intricate choreographing of the meal service, as well as security checks and final briefings for the President. Intercut with these scenes are segments discussing the White House's history, architecture, and high-profile residents, as well as anecdotes from all surviving former residents. 
U.S. Constitution/Bill of 
Rights (1999)
Teachers and parents alike can use this to make the Constitution accessible on many levels. The program is targeted at junior high students and high school freshmen and sophomores and is divided into sections corresponding to the articles of the Constitution.
The American Revolution (1994)
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This six-tape set provides a clear and complete narrative of the events surrounding the birth of America. Unfortunately, it is a bit dry, as the repetitive music is distracting and certain images are shown far too frequently. However, the varied materials used to tell this tale will please history buffs.
Vietnam: A Television History - Boxed Set (1983)
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A six-year project from conception to completion, this 13-hour, seven volume video collection carefully analyzes the costs and consequences of this controversial but intriguing war. From the first episode, Roots of a War, to the last, Legacies, it provides a detailed visual and oral account of the war that changed a generation and continues to color American thinking on many military and foreign policy issues.
The West Box Set (1996)
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A masterpiece of history and storytelling. This documetary should be mandatory viewing in every American History class. True history here - not the whitewashed watered down, self serving glorification of the conquest of the untamed West. Here is the story of America at its genecidal worst; ruthless, murderous, calculating, and devestating. And yet this same story shows unimagineable beauty, heroics, love, and the enevitability of change. This is undoubtably one of the most fair tellings of what happened to the West and the people who took it from the People who loved it. See it, feel it, and continue to think about it. 
Image of an 
Assassination (1998)
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This first commercially available video version of the legendary 26-second "Zapruder Film"--the 8mm record of John F. Kennedy's 1963 assassination, which was filmed by Abraham Zapruder-- provoked a storm of controversy when it first appeared on video shelves. Added to the National Film Registry in 1994, this historical document remains a significant record of one of the nation's most devastating events and is still cited as a key piece of evidence in the debate over the truth of Kennedy's murder. 
Liberty! - The American Revolution (1998)
Featuring dramatic readings from letters and diaries of the period plus live-action re-creations, this compelling series traces the events leading up to the war and America's fight for freedom. In 1763, the French have left and America is at peace under British rule. But dissension is mounting, signified by the Boston Tea Party and publication of Tom Paine's book, Common Sense. Follow the course of revolution as George Washington assumes leadership, Benjamin Franklin goes to France seeking support, and ordinary Americans come together in a conflict that will forge a new nation.

The American Experience - Riding the Rails (1997)
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Desperate times call for desperate measures, and perhaps no time in America's history has been so desperate as the Great Depression. Hundreds of thousands of young men and women left home seeking work and money wherever they could find it, and many of them took to hopping trains as a means of cheap, speedy (though by no means safe) travel. Riding the Rails lets survivors tell their stories of thrills, humiliation, and boredom from a distance of 60 years. You'll be amazed at the strength and determination of these folks to survive the difficult times, and find their reminiscences beautiful, sometimes angry, sometimes poetic.
The Century-America's Time (Boxed Set) (1998
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Jennings does an excellent job of creating these videos. Their chronological order will refresh your memory and cement your knowledge of the important events of your century. It gives a fair and even-handed veiw of the history of the last hundred years. The pictures are superb in both content and technical quality. The original music score is wonderful, making the work highly dramatic and cinematic in places. A documentary commemorating a century of history should be great...and this one is.
Martin Luther King, Jr. - "I Have a Dream" (1986)
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Martin Luther King, Jr.'s most famous speech, delivered on the steps of the Lincoln memorial on August 28, 1963, is presented in its entirety, along with scenes of the civil rights struggle throughout the 1960s. 
The Final Invasion, The War of 1812

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