The Civil War has been over for some 150 years. Despite this, it still remains today one of the most important parts of America’s history. Thousands lost their lives over the course of the Civil War if not hundreds of thousands. To this day, the battles and the figures that were a part of the Civil War remain just as important as they were at the time that they happened. Any number of documentaries have been presented and released on DVD and Blu-ray over the years that center on probably every possible aspect of the war. Some of those presentations are more worth the watch than others. In the same vein, others are of course are more forgettable. This past April, History Channel released what is one of the few Civil War documentaries that is actually worth the watch in the form of The End of the Civil War. The title of the double-disc, four-part documentary makes crystal clear the central reason that it is worth the watch. Rather than just being another broad spectrum presentation, it focuses on one primary aspect of the war. Looking more closely at the presentation in whole, all four “episodes” that make up the program are presented in chronological order. While it isn’t overly rare, it doesn’t happen a whole lot especially in the realm of military and history documentaries. So to see this is a definite positive to this presentation. Last of note here are the collective re-enactments and discussions by the figures featured throughout the program. Both elements are minor details. That is a given. But they still play their own part in the whole of the program. Taken along with the program specific information presented here and the fact that the information is even presented chronologically, all three elements show together why The End of the Civil War is a rare worthwhile watch for any history buff and more specifically for any Civil War history buff.
The End of the Civil War is a rare worthwhile watch for any history buff and more specifically for any Civil War history buff. The main way in which it proves this is through the fact that it is a topic specific program. Unlike so many military and history programs in general, it doesn’t try to cover a broad spread in terms of its material. Rather it sticks primarily to the topic noted in its title beginning with Sherman’s now infamous march to the sea. Also included are pieces on Lincoln’s assassination, the search that followed for his killer, and of course the days leading up to the assassination. Because it sticks to these specific aspects of the war, the amount of material covered is cut down. In turn, audiences don’t feel like they are sitting through a college level lecture on the war’s end. In other words it becomes more accessible for audiences of all types and ages. Such accessibility makes it a piece that is just as welcome an addition to any classroom collection or home collection. In turn, it shows exactly why the specificity of this program is so important to the whole of its presentation. Of course it is just one way in which The End of the Civil War shows itself to be such a welcome watch for any history buff and Civil War history buff alike.
The fact that The End of the Civil War sticks to only the presented topic throughout the course of its four segments is a big bonus. It makes it accessible to audiences of all ages. It is just one way in which it shows itself to be a worthwhile watch. Audiences will note that unlike so many other history-based programs that are out there, the four segments that make up the whole of the program are presented chronologically beginning with General Sherman’s now infamous march to the sea. It all leads up to Lincoln’s assassination and the subsequent search for his killer. The whole thing closes with an interesting piece about what may or may not have happened to Lincoln’s body. Yes, it sounds somewhat morbid. But those that are true history buffs and Civil War buffs will find this segment just as interesting as its predecessors. The very fact that the program’s segments are presented chronologically is especially worth the note because it is so rare to see such organization from such a presentation. Regardless of whether from History or another network, it is far more common to see such presentations assembled in seemingly random fashion in terms of their collective topics. It also plays in to the program’s accessibility. The transitions at the front and back of each segment are entirely clear. The resulting effect is that audiences won’t find themselves having to retrace their proverbial steps at any point—beginning, end, or middle—of each segment to keep up with the program. That clarity coupled with the clear and precise approach to the program’s subject matter makes it even more accessible to audiences and in turn shows even more why The End of the Civil War is one of those rare worthwhile watches for history buffs and Civil War history buffs out there.
The subject presented in The End of the Civil War and its organization are both important in their own right in showing what makes this documentary a worthwhile watch for history buffs in general and more specifically Civil War history buffs. As important as each element is to the whole of the program, they are not all that should be noted in examining this presentation. Audiences are presented over the course of the program’s four elements an actual documentary presentation from History. There is commentary from a number of academics over the course of each segment, including from one such individual from none other than UNC-Chapel Hill. There are also re-creations used to illustrate the story presented in each segment just as in History’s past documentary programs. It shows that history documentary programming does still exist from History even if only on DVD and Blu-ray. Even if it is only available on DVD and Blu-ray, such a presentation style from History shows once more why The End of the Civil War is a rare worthwhile watch in the realm of documentaries.
The End of the Civil War shows in plenty of ways why it is a documentary well worth the watch for any history buff and Civil War history buff. Its specific subject matter and the subject matter’s related organization both clearly exhibit what makes it a worthwhile watch. The collective interviews an re-enactments incorporated into the program to illustrate each topic and advance each segment show even more what makes it a worthwhile watch. Together, all of the noted elements show with full clarity why any history buff and Civil War history buff will want to watch it. It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered online via History’s online store at http://www.shophistorystore.com/the-end-of-the-civil-war-dvd/details/117389786. More information on this and other programs from History is available online at:
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