Educators, History Lovers Alike Will Enjoy History Channel’s New WWII Documentary Set

Courtesy:  A&E Home Video/History Channel

Courtesy: A&E Home Video/History Channel

History Channel’s new military documentary 75 Years of WWII is scheduled to be released this week.  The double-disc documentary is another nice addition to the library of any military history buff out there. Unlike its partner documentary, 100 Years of WWI was somewhat mistitled, the title of this feature actually works to a point.  That is because it actually takes into account the start of WWII in Europe, rather than from the point of the United States’ entry into the war.  So it is actually factually correct.  Another reason that audiences will appreciate this program is that while it does not present the depth of documentaries such as WWII in HD and Vietnam in HD, it is a good starting point for any discussion on World War II especially for any military history class or even history class in general.  And last but not least of all worth noting is the packaging for the double-disc presentation.  That packaging alongside the program’s content and smart title work together to make 75 Years of WWII another welcome addition to the library of any teacher, professor, or history lover in general.

The very first aspect of 75 Years of WWII that makes this latest set from History Channel work is its title.  Most audiences take far too often for granted the title of a given box set, movie, etc.  But the title of this release is quite important.  It is actually so important because this September marks the 75th anniversary of the start of WWII.  That is the 75th anniversary of the start of the war in Europe, not since America joined the war.  So it is a factually correct title.  Some might ask why this matter.  It matters in that unlike so many DVDs out there already, it doesn’t end up misleading audiences.  On another level, that factual certification also serves in itself as the basis for its own history lesson that is broadened quite well by History Channel’s other recent World War II documentary, WWII in HD and the network’s other WWII-based series, one of which sees a two-part episode included on this disc.  That inclusion plays its own part in the overall success of this set, too.

As subtle as it is, the title of 75 Years of WWII is an important piece of the whole that makes this latest release from History Channel enjoyable for history lovers, teachers, and military history lovers alike.  It is a subtle yet important starting point for any discussion point on World War II whether in the classroom or the living room.  Just as important as the presentation’s title is the actual content contained on the set’s two discs.  The material included on this presentation may not be as in-depth as History Channel’s previously released WWII box set WWII in HD.  However, it does collectively offer its own share of in-depth information making for even more solid starting points for many more discussions on the history of World War II.  It all begins with the two-part special D-Day in HD on the set’s first disc.  More than likely, this was chosen as the world stopped and observed the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the end of World War II this year.  It’s a fitting starting point for viewers considering the timeliness of the set’s release.  Disc II is anchored by the two-part Battle 360 episode that focuses on the U.S.S. Enterprise and its role in the battle of Guadal Canal.  There is also a short feature on the Top 10 most important pieces of military hardware that were developed over the course of World War II. This ties directly into History Channel’s previously released programs World War II from Space and 100 Years of WWI, which focused primarily on the military tech developed in World War I, rather than the war’s history.  The Germans, Japanese, and Americans are all featured in this countdown, from land to sea to air.  It’s a fitting finishing piece for a grouping of content that any history lover, military history lover and educator will appreciate.

Both the content included on 75 Years of WWII and its very title are key to the set’s overall presentation and enjoyment.  As important as both factors remain, there is still one remaining factor that audiences should consider when purchasing the double-disc set.  That remaining factor is the set’s packaging.  There are only two discs in this package.  But both discs are placed on their own spindle inside the case.  Disc one is placed on its own insert inside the case while disc two has been placed on a spindle on the back inside portion of the case.  This protects the discs from one another all while making them easily accessible.  The end result is a pair of discs that audiences will be able to enjoy time and again for years to come.

The packaging used to house the discs in 75 Years of WWII rounds out History Channel’s new presentation.  Together with the set’s equally important content and factually accurate title, the three factors noted here make 75 Years of WWII an even more welcome addition to any classroom or living room.  It can be ordered online now direct from History Channel’s online store at http://shop.history.com/detail.php?p=577134&SESSID=a067958912a6f2c2d1ab21dca48b384a&v=history.  More information on this and other titles from History Channel is available online at http://www.facebook.com/History and http://www.history.com.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

D-Day 360 Is A Fitting Final Piece To PBS’ D-Day Trilogy

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

The world stopped this past June to note the seventieth anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France.  The battle on June 6th, 1945 is to this day the biggest naval operation of the 20th century if not in history.  While the battle is considered to be the beginning of the end of the war in Europe, it obviously wasn’t without its problems as has already been pointed out in PBS’ recently released programs Day of Days: June 6, 1944 and D­-Day’s Sunken Secrets.  Those programs, released just last month, both outline the work that was undertaken to make the Normandy invasion happen.  They also help audiences to see that the events of June 6th were only part of the story of D-Day.  Now in D-Day 360, the last of PBS’ trio of programs centered on the D-Day operations, viewers get one of the most comprehensive looks at the initial operation that has been seen yet.

D-Day 360 is a good finishing piece for PBS in its recently released trio of programs centered on the Normandy invasion.  The primary reason that it is such a good finale to the series of programs is its in-depth graphical examination of the events that unfolded on D-Day.  There are no re-enactments or anything of that nature.  What viewers get in this program is a visual presentation that fully immerses them in the events of that day.  It does so through the use of graphics that bring to life so to speak all the names and figures thrown out in so many documentaries before.  From graphic depictions of just how far German shells could fly from the beaches to depictions of how far Allied planes overshot Normandy on their bombing run to cover the ground forces and more, D-Day 360 gives viewers a perspective like no other documentary before that has covered the Normandy invasion.  Rather than just churning out a bunch of names and numbers, those names and numbers get their own life of sorts, making the impact of this knowledge even harder hitting.  It really goes to show just how much PBS has surpassed the likes of History Channel now that that network has become little more than just another reality show network.

The graphic illustrations used through D-Day 360 are central to the overall enjoyment and success of the program. Thankfully, those behind this program’s creation used more than just computer generated illustrations to advance the program and keep viewers engaged throughout its roughly hour-long runtime. Also incorporated into this program are stories told first-hand from a handful of veterans that fought at Normandy. These veterans don’t seem to be the same veterans interviewed for PBS’ previous pair of programs centered on D-Day (say that one five times fast). Every interview is important. That is because every day, there are fewer veterans left to tell the countless stories of that terrible conflict. Their addition to this program adds even more depth to the overall presentation. The end result is a program that is even more informative and entertaining for audiences whether they be in a military studies class or simply a history class. Audiences don’t even have to be in school to appreciate the interviews. They can simply be history buffs or military history buffs.

The use of computer generated graphics combined with actual stories from veterans that fought at Normandy are both key factors to the overall presentation that is D-Day 360. By direct connection, the general lack of re-enactments in this program is subtle.   But it adds so much to the presentation in whole. It shows that those responsible for bringing the program to the masses understood quite well that less is more mentality. They knew where to draw that line between enough and too much. It’s just one more way that PBs continues to show that it is the leader in true educational content while networks that once led the way (E.g. History Channel, TLC, etc.) have fallen by the wayside. This subtle but oh-so-important factor is the final piece to a presentation that any and every military history buff, history buff and teacher alike will appreciate.

D-Day 360 is available now on DVD. It can be ordered direct from PBS’ online store. More information on this and other programs from PBS is available online via PBS’ official website and Facebook page. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to the Phil’s Picks Facebook page and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog, too.

History Channel’s New WWI Program A Must See For Any Military, History Buff

Courtesy:  History Channel/Lionsgate

Courtesy: History Channel/Lionsgate

History Channel released this week its new military documentary 100 Years of World War I.  The documentary is a perfect fit for any high school and college level history course.  It is just as fitting for a class at any military academy.  The in-depth program spans two discs and eight separate segments.  The first four segments are the meat and potatoes of the program and are contained entirely on the set’s first disc.  That separation of material is the second part of this set that audiences will appreciate.  And rounding out the whole presentation is the incorporation of vintage footage and pictures, actual writings from those involved in combat, and computer simulations to help illustrate each segment’s topic.  These extras alongside the set’s organization and its expansive information collectively make 100 years Of WWI a viable candidate for a slot on this critic’s list of the year’s best new documentaries.

The primary factor that audiences will appreciate about this new documentary “series” is the depth of material included across each of its segments.  Audiences are treated to a history lesson primarily on the military tech that was first developed for use in World War I.  It all starts with a lesson of sorts on the evolution of a British farm tractor into the first tanks.  Audiences will be interested to see just how tight things were inside the tanks and the dangers that tank crews faced in those earliest versions of tanks.  What’s more, audiences will be interested to see just how imperfect they were despite their strengths.  From tanks, the main feature moves on to the development of the first chemical warfare and to the advent of aerial and submersible technology.  The program’s narrator explains that things weren’t perfect with any of this tech at first.  For instance, the gas used actually would blow back into the faces of the soldiers, leading many to be killed by accident.  And even the use of submarines was largely ineffective at first for British forces.  Even more interesting, audiences will learn that for the longest time, the U.S. actually stayed out of the war, until the German forces didn’t keep their word about not sinking American ships.  If all of this isn’t enough for audiences, there is even a history lesson of sorts on some of the most integral air battles in the history of World War I in the set’s bonus second disc.  These are just some examples of the extent of the in-depth information shared throughout the course of this program’s two discs.  The history shared throughout the course of this set’s two discs is central to its overall enjoyment.  The manner in which the overall program was separated is another reason that audiences will appreciate this set.

The organization of 100 Years of WWI is another important aspect of this set’s overall enjoyment.  Each of the four primary segments that comprise the main feature is presented in and of itself rather than all of them being jumbled together as one big program. This applies to the features included on the bonus second disc, too. The end result of this full separation of features is that viewers will be more apt to actually sit and watch through each one’s roughly forty plus minute run time. The only real connection per se that each of the features have to one another is the opening sequence. It tells audiences what the program covers in each part. The overall impact of this organization alongside the depth of material presented makes both aspects equally important. Together, they make this box set even more enjoyable for any history buff or military history buff.

The organization of 100 Years of WWI and the information included within each of the set’s eight total features together make this set well worth the purchase by any military history buff and history buff in general. There is one more factor to consider in this set’s enjoyment. That factor is its collective interviews, vintage footage and pictures, and computer simulations. Each one helps in its own way to make each discussion more accessible for viewers. There are computer generated clips showing how the blimps crafted by the German forces bombed England. There are also computer simulations used in the features centered on WWI’s most well-known dogfights. And the footage and pictures of the men fighting on the front lines drives home just how horrible it must have been to have been in those trenches. This is merely some of what audiences can expect from this program. Audiences will see much more when they order 100 Years of WWI for themselves. It can be ordered direct from History Channel’s online store at http://shop.history.com/detail.php?p=562013. More information on this and other releases from History Channel is available online at http://www.history.com, http://shop.history.com, and http://www.facebook.com/History. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

PBS Set To Release Three New D-Day Documentaries July 8th

PBS will release three new programs next Tuesday centered on one of the most pivotal moments of World War II next Tuesday.

Day of Days

Courtesy: PBS

PBS will release next Tuesday,  Day of Days: June 6, 1944: American Soldiers Remember D-Day, D-Day 360, and Nova: D-Days Sunken Secrets. The first of the documentaries brings together a group of WWII veterans that took part in D-Day. The men recollect the events of what is one of the largest collective operations in military history. Throughout their discussions, the men also discuss their uneasiness over being called “heroes,” their transformation from boys to men, and the loss of their friends in the assault on Normandy among other topics. The stories bring up very powerful and equally painful memories for the veterans. This program will be available on DVD and via digital download. It will be available for SRP of $24.99. It can be ordered online via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=35620366.

 

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

D-Day 36O, the second of PBS’ upcoming WWII-centered documentaries, re-creates the events of D-Day. It does so through the use of new data-driven and statistical tools to display the sheer immensity of the operation. It was on June 6th, 1944 that 3,000 planes dropped 23,000 airborne troops behind German lines, 7,000 ships delivered some 20,000 military vehicles and 130,000 allied soldiers to take on some 40,000 German soldiers, roughly two million mines buried in the sand, and 46,000 beach obstacles. Among those obstacles were hundreds of miles of barbed wire, shells, and bullets. The program focuses primarily on the exit at Vierville-sur-Mer, the most important stretch of Omaha Beach that day. It documents the events that unfolded over the course of five hours of fighting on the five-mile stretch of French coastline. The program will be available on DVD next Tuesday. It will retail for SRP of $24.99 and can be ordered online via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=35446756.

 

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

In the third and final of PBS’ upcoming D-Day centered programs, audiences are taken beneath the waves of Normandy to see the remnants of what is today one of the world’s largest underwater archaeological sites in Nova: D-Days Sunken Secrets. Audiences will see in this five-part program, a combined group of military historians, archaeologists, and other specialist divers as they explore the waters just off of Normandy’s beaches. They use submersibles, underwater robots, and the latest 3-D mapping technology to identify the tanks, ships, planes, landing craft and more that sunk just off of Normandy’s beaches that day. Along with that, audiences are also taken into the planning of the D-Day invasion, and how the work of scientists, mathematicians, inventors, and even meteorologists helped in said planning. The expedition which led to this presentation lasted six weeks and was led by Sylvain Pascaud. D-Days Sunken Secrets will retail for SRP of $24.99. It can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=34895296.

More information on each of these programs and others from PBS is available online at http://www.pbs.org and http://www.facebook.com/pbs. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

eOne’s WWI Mini-Series Is A Must See For History Buffs Of All Kinds

Courtesy:  Entertainment One/American Heroes Channel

Courtesy: Entertainment One/American Heroes Channel

World War II, Korea, and Vietnam are the most talked about conflicts in military history.  The trio has been fodder for more movies and television specials than can be counted on two hands alone.  They aren’t the only conflicts that have shaped the history of world, though.  As many stories have come from these conflicts, there is one conflict in particular that has never fully received the attention that it deserves.  The conflict in question is the First World War.  Much like World War II, WWI started in Europe.  But it started for a much different reason than did World War II as audiences will learn in watching this in depth-reissue of the Military Channel mini-series.  The information shared throughout the program’s eight-plus hours is just a single part of what makes this re-issued mini-series well worth the watch.  The accompanying vintage footage of pre-wartime Europe and Europe during the war is another positive to the presentation as a whole.  Last but most definitely not least, the entire program is singularly narrated.  The people behind the documentary didn’t rely on celebrity “experts” to help move the program along. That final factor makes this three-disc set one more that both history buffs and military history buffs will appreciate.

The First World War is an important presentation both for history buffs in general and more specifically for any military history buff. That is because of the amount and depth of information shared throughout the course of its eight-plus hours. It doesn’t just breeze over the war’s history with a few handfuls of highlights. Rather it traces the history of the war going beyond the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria that is said to have started the war. It goes all the way back to racial and political tensions between the various groups of the area that would eventually lead to said assassination. Audiences learn how the British actually used the Japanese to take over certain regions of China and so many other facts that aren’t taught in public schools or even in college level courses. That explains why the entire mini-series runs just over eight hours across three-discs. And it’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg that makes this set worth the watch.

The in-depth content that makes up The First World War is a solid foundation to the mini-series in whole. It presents to audiences far more information than could be presented over the course of an academic year in public schools.   It presents even more than could be presented over the course of a semester in a college level course, too. Audiences will also appreciate the use of the vintage pictures and footage incorporated into the mini-series, too. Footage from the days of World War II is far more plentiful (or so it would seem) than from the days of World War I. It makes the footage presented here all the more valuable and important in understanding what was going on in the world in the days and months leading up to the start of World War I and even during the war itself. And along with the diary readings offered throughout the program, It makes the presentation as a whole even more interesting for any history buff in general and military history buff. That leads to one more point of equal importance in this mini-series. The point in question is the lack of “expert” and celebrity guests to discuss the events of the war.

Most specials, series, and mini-series centered on the world’s various important historical events that air on television are accompanied by “expert” and celebrity guests. The “expert” guests all have their share of valuable information. But the inclusion of celebrity guests to narrate, do readings and otherwise just make appearances is little more than a marketing ploy used to get eyeballs. And being that this mini-series originally aired on the American Heroes Channel (formerly Military Channel), it’s rather interesting to note that those behind this program didn’t employ such a marketing ploy. It’s interesting because programs run on other Discovery Communications networks do in fact use that angle. It’s nice to sit back and watch this program without some celebrity or alleged “expert” adding his or her own two cents every few minutes or so. It’s just one narrator, vintage footage, and a straight, pure history of a war that deserves far more coverage than it has ever received from any network or filmmaker. It collectively makes The First World War a must see for anyone that has any interest at all in history in general and in military history.

The First World War is available now. It can be ordered now online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/First-World-War-Woodrow-Wilson/dp/B00IS6WPT2/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1401566849&sr=1-1&keywords=The+First+World+War. More information on this and other programs from American Heroes Channel is available at http://www.ahctv.com. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

New History Channel DVD Release Is Another Great Set In And Out Of The Classroom

Courtesy: History Channel/A&E Entertainment

Did you know that Hollywood has hugely mishandled the famed gunfight at the OK Corral?  What about Benjamin Franklin?  Did you know that he actually created America’s first gossip rag, and even fathered an illegitimate son?  And allegedly, Rat Pack front man Frank Sinatra really wasn’t the brains behind the band?  Thanks to its new show, 10 Things You Didn’t Know, History Channel reveals these facts and more.  And fans can learn about these little tidbits of information and more next week when History Channel releases the first season of 10 Things You Didn’t Know About on DVD.

In 10 Things You Didn’t Know About host David Eisenbach reveals to audiences some of the secrets of history’s most famous and infamous figures and events.  One of the most intriguing facts that Eisenbach reveals to audiences is that the battle of the OK Corral actually didn’t happen in the OK Corral.  Rather, it happened in a vacant lot behind the corral.  And unlike what’s been presented in movies, it only lasted a grand total of thirty seconds.  In those thirty seconds, only thirty shots were fired, one for each second.  And while most audiences know Wyatt Earp as an iconic hero figure, he was originally a business man who had only been in one fight before the fight at the OK Corral.  He actually helped run a brothel before everything leading up to the now legendary gunfight.  The story of what led up to the gunfight is even more interesting.  It gets somewhat discombobulated, as a number of factors ended up leading to the fight.  But in adding it all up, many audiences may find it surprising what led to the gunfight.

The gunfight at the OK Corral and its combatants weren’t the only famed events and figures that Eisenbach discusses in this season of 10 Things You Didn’t Know About.  He also reveals through discussions with academics and experts that the iconic picture of Benjamin Franklin holding a kite with a key was not entirely true.  As a matter of fact, Eisenbach reveals through his interviews that it was in fact Franklin’s illegitimate son William who actually had the kite.  Franklin himself actually ran for cover during the storm.  Speaking of his illegitimate son, the show notes that Franklin admitted in his autobiography that he had fathered William with a prostitute.  Of course, prostitution wasn’t illegal back then.  While there are some seedy details revealed about his life in this show, it does also reveal that Franklin did a lot for the country, his inventions aside.  For instance, he helped to found the country’s very first public hospital.  And thanks to his ways with the ladies, Franklin managed to convince the wife of French ruler Louis XVI to side with America in its war with Britain.  And if not for that partnership, America might have otherwise lost the war. 

Lawmen and founding fathers aren’t the only figures covered by Eisenbach in History Channel’s hit show.  For those who are more into pop culture, 10 Things You Didn’t Know About also travels into that realm.  In this brand new collection, Eisenberg reveals to viewers that the famed Rat Pack actually was not called the Rat pack, but the Summit.  It was actually actress Lauren Bacall who came up with the Rat Pack name, which Frank Sinatra never liked.  The Summit named, it’s revealed, had political links.  And speaking of politics, it’s also revealed that the Rat Pack—Sinatra especially—was very closely tied to the civil rights movement, even helping Dr. Martin Luther King’s now famous organization, the SCLC.  This is just a small sampling of what is revealed about The Rat Pack in this season of 10 Things You Didn’t Know About.  Fans can learn even more about the group, and even more figures when they get the two-disc set for themselves next Tuesday, August 28th.  It can be ordered direct from History Channel on its website at http://shop.history.com.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

PBS’ New Civil War Documentary Set Sure To Please Any History Buff

COurtesy: PBS

The Civil War is one of the most important events in the United States’ near two hundred and forty year history.  To this day, it is discussed inside and outside the classroom.  The mere flying of a rebel flag in some parts of the country raises tensions and political discussions.  Countless documentaries have been crafted on the subject from nearly every possible angle.  Now thanks to PBS, history buffs, teachers, and Civil War enthusiasts alike have a new addition to their libraries in the form of “America and the Civil War.”

“America and the Civil War” is a double disc DVD set from PBS that combines the best of the network’s Civil War programs and culls them together in an expansive five-part collection.  The five specials culled together come from the network’s “American Experience” and “NOVA.”  Being that the set includes five different specials, each viewer will have his or her own favorite moment(s).  This reviewer’s personal favorite moments are the special, “Lincoln’s Secret Weapon” and “The 54th Colored Infantry.”

“Lincoln’s Secret War” has previously been released on DVD.  It is part of the network’s “NOVA” programming.  This near hour long special follows a group of Navy divers as they try to raise the propeller and shaft of the famed U.S.S. Monitor from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean just off the North Carolina coast.  As viewers follow the sometimes tense moments of the work involved, they are also provided a history of why this project is being undertaken.  The program’s narrator gives a history of the Monitor and its creator John Ericsson.  Ericsson is described here as one of the greatest engineering minds of his time.  It was Ericsson who developed the first screw propeller, which would eventually be used in the Monitor.  Though, it was actually used in the Princeton first.  The program also goes into some depth, explaining how the success of the Monitor led to the creation of other Monitors, though the outcome was not good.  That’s because certain parties thought the ships could be used in open water battles.  That ultimately was what led to the sinking of the original Monitor off the coast of North Carolina.  It should be noted at this point, that Lincoln’s Secret Weapon is somewhat dated, as the turret from the Monitor has been pulled from the ocean floor.  That aside, it is still a good lesson explaining what would be one of the turning points in naval history.

“Lincoln’s Secret Weapon” is a good special for anyone interested in naval history (this reviewer included).  For those interested in other matters, there is the special, “The Massachusetts 54th Colored Infantry.”  This roughly hour long special closes out the double disc set.  It is narrated by veteran actor Morgan Freeman.  It documents the true story of the regiment whose achievements were made into the big screen feature, Glory (1989).  Through interviews with descendants of the 54th and historians, audiences learn interesting facts such as how the 54th Colored Infantry got its start in Boston.  Perhaps most interesting of all in this special is that it actually took the Emancipation Proclamation for the 54th to be formed.  Before this edict from President Lincoln, African Americans were not allowed to serve in the military, even in the North.  And even when they were finally allowed to service, it was with a catch.  They were not permitted to serve as commissioned officers or lead regiments in general.  So even after Lincoln’s new law was signed, discrimination still happened to African Americans who wanted to fight for their own freedom.  As Freeman notes at one point, documents showed that some Union soldiers went so far as to admit that they weren’t fighting against slavery at all.  They were fighting because the war was right, in their eyes.  So even in the North, free blacks faced almost as much unfair treatment as in the south.  Of course, what documentary on the 54th would be complete without mention that the regiment did have a very important victory just before the war’s end?  It was the 54th that helped to finally take Charleston, South Carolina only months before the war finally ended.  As with “Lincoln’s Secret Weapon”, this is another interesting addition to PBS’ new Civil War documentary set.  It is one more piece that makes the entire set worth the watch.  It has so much more information that teachers and history buffs alike will enjoy checking out.

Of course, the only way to check out these two specials and the others in “America and the Civil War” is to own it for oneself.  “America and the Civil War” will be available on August 28th.  It will be available for order at http://www.shoppbs.org.  

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.