Saturday, July 13, 2013

My favorite history documentaries






Ancient empires

The Greeks: Crucible of Civilization (PBS) - 2 ½ hours
Rome: Rise and Fall of an Empire (History Channel) - 10 hours
Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire (BBC, requires European DVD player) - 6 hours

Art history

Kenneth Clark's Civilisation (BBC, art history) - 11 hours
          (available on YouTube - link to first episode)
The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance (PBS) - 4 hours

Religious history

Kingdom of David: The Saga of the Israelites (PBS) - 4 hours
David Starkey's The Six Wives of Henry VIII - 3 hours

History of the British Isles generally

Simon Schama's A History of Britain (BBC, with American financing) - 15 hours
          (available on YouTube - link to first episode)
David Starkey's Monarchy (U. K.) - 17 hours
Michael Wood's The Story of England (BBC) - 6 hours
Neil Oliver's A History of Scotland (BBC Scotland) - 10 hours
Fergal Keane's The Story of Ireland (BBC Northern Ireland) - 5 hours
Andrew Marr's Modern Britain (1901-2007, BBC - requires European DVD player) - 10 hours

Specific countries (outside of the British Isles)

Alistair Cooke's America: A Personal History of the United States (BBC) - 10 hours
Canada: A People's History (CBC and Société de Radio-Canada) - 32 hours
          (available on YouTube - link to first episode)
Michael Wood's The Story of India (BBC) - 6 hours

History of the English language

Melvyn Bragg's The Adventure of English (British-made) - 6 hours
          (available on YouTube - link to first episode)

The rest of these are in something approaching chronological order.

Famous queens

David Starkey's Elizabeth (Queen Elizabeth the First) - 3 hours

The Spanish Conquest

Michael Wood's Conquistadors (BBC) - 4 hours

Colonial America

The Pilgrims (PBS) - 2 hours

The Seven Years' War (French and Indian War)

The War That Made America - 4 hours

The American Revolution (the War of Independence)

Overviews of the war

Liberty! The American Revolution (PBS) - 6 hours
History Channel's "The Revolution" - 10 hours

Founding Father biographies

Benjamin Franklin (PBS) - 3 hours

George Washington (History Channel) - 1 ½ hours
Alexander Hamilton (PBS) - 2 hours - available on YouTube
Founding Fathers (History Channel) - 3 hours
Founding Brothers (History Channel) - 3 hours
John and Abigail Adams (PBS) - 2 hours - available on YouTube
Thomas Jefferson (PBS, Ken Burns) - 3 hours

Frontier exploration

Lewis and Clark (PBS, Ken Burns) - 4 hours

The French Revolution/Napoleonic Era

Marie Antoinette (PBS) - 2 hours
The French Revolution (History Channel) - 1 ½ hours - available on YouTube
Napoleon Bonaparte (PBS) - 4 hours - available on YouTube - link to first episode

The War of 1812 (North America)

The War of 1812 (PBS) - 2 hours - available online
Dolley Madison (PBS) - 1 ½ hours
Andrew Jackson (PBS) - 2 hours - available on YouTube


The Mexican-American War

The U.S.-Mexican War 1846-1848 - 4 hours - available on YouTube - link to first half
The Gold Rush - 2 hours - available on YouTube

The American Civil War

The Abolitionists (PBS) - 3 hours
The Civil War (overview by PBS, Ken Burns) - 11 hours
Reconstruction: The Second Civil War (PBS) - 3 hours - available on YouTube - link to first episode

Abraham and Mary Lincoln (PBS) - 6 hours

Jefferson Davis (privately made) - 3 ½ hours
Ulysses S. Grant (PBS) - 3 ½ hours

Various other American topics

Transcontinental Railroad (PBS) - 2 hours - available on YouTube

Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony (PBS, Ken Burns) - 3 ½ hours
Mark Twain (PBS, Ken Burns) - 3 ½ hours

New York Underground (PBS) - 1 hour
Spanish-American War (PBS) - 2 hours
Theodore Roosevelt (PBS) - 3 ½ hours
Horatio's Drive: America's First Road Trip (PBS, Ken Burns) - 2 hours
Panama Canal (PBS) - 1 ½ hours - available online


History of American business

The Men Who Built America (History Channel) - 6 hours
Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio (PBS, Ken Burns) - 2 hours
Henry Ford (PBS) - 2 hours - available online
Walt Disney (PBS) - 4 hours

World War One

The Great War (BBC, interviews veterans) - 17 hours
World War I (CBS, the complete story) - 10 hours

Woodrow Wilson (PBS) - 3 hours - available on YouTube - link to first episode
The Storm That Swept Mexico (PBS) - 2 hours - available on YouTube

World War Two

The War (PBS, Ken Burns) - 15 hours (focuses on United States)
The World at War (British series) - 23 hours (talks about all the major powers)

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (PBS) - 4 hours - available online
Winston Churchill (British-made) - 3 hours
Harry Truman (PBS) - 4 hours - available online
Dwight D. Eisenhower (PBS) - 2 ½ hours - link to first episode

The Cold War (other)

The Cold War (CNN) - 18 hours - link to first episode
The Korean War (Timeless Media) - 5 hours

John F. Kennedy (PBS) - 3 ½ hours
Robert F. Kennedy (PBS) - 2 hours
Lyndon B. Johnson (PBS) - 3 ½ hours - available online
Richard Nixon (PBS) - 2 ½ hours - available online

General American history in the 20th century

Baseball (PBS miniseries, Ken Burns) - 19 hours
Jazz (PBS miniseries, Ken Burns) - 19 hours



2 comments:

  1. I bought "The Rape of Europa" the documentary that inspired Monument Men, but haven't watched it yet. (Bought the book, too.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting - I'll have to look at it. Thanks!

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