Saturday, July 13, 2013

My favorite history documentaries




Ancient empires

Egypt's Golden Empire (PBS Empires) - 2 ½ hours

The Greeks: Crucible of Civilization (PBS Empires) - 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

The Roman Empire in the First Century (PBS Empires) - 3 ½ 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 Empires) - 4 hours

Religious history

Kingdom of David: The Saga of the Israelites (PBS Empires) - 4 hours

Ancient Roads from Christ to Constantine - 5 ½ hours

Martin Luther (PBS Empires) - 2 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

Huw Edwards' The Story of Wales (BBC Wales) - 6 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, requires European DVD player) - 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 reigning queens

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

Catherine the Great (PBS) - 2 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 (PBS) - 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 Empires) - 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

Civil War biographies

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

Murder of a President: James A. Garfield (PBS) - 2 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

Edison: The Father of Invention (PBS) - 2 hours

Tesla: Master of Lightning (PBS) - 1 ½ 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)

Biographies of major figures of World War Two

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

Cold War political biographies (other)

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

20th century American race relations

Jackie Robinson (PBS) - 4 hours

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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