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10 Days That Unexpectedly Changed America


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Product Description

Compelling stories about 10 pivotal days in American history

Offering a fresh perspective on the American experience, 10 acclaimed documentary filmmakers present 10 pivotal moments in United States history and the often unexpected changes they triggered.

These critical but unsung pieces of history include a local rebellion that inspired a national constitution, bullets fired in Buffalo, New York, and even a crooner from Memphis who couldn't stand still. These are just a few of the fascinating subjects explored in this series of 10 riveting one-hour documentaries. Together, these films represent compelling stories about less well known events that serve as a lens with which to view the range of the American experience.

From the first massacre of Native Americans to the single bloodiest day in American history, from a courtroom battle of science vs. religion that still rages today to the racial murders that led to the Voting Rights Act, these are the events that tested America's soul and forged her destiny.

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Thoughtfully conceived and brilliantly executed, 10 Days That Unexpectedly Changed America is History Channel programming at its finest. As its title suggests, this series of ten one-hour documentaries does not necessarily represent the most important and well-known moments in American history (though some of them arguably qualify), but rather they are pivotal milestones that helped to forge and define the American character--events which, in retrospect, have had a profound influence on our ever-changing society. With this as their editorial mission, the History Channel's producers recruited ten highly acclaimed documentary filmmakers to direct each one-hour episode, each contributing their own unique approach to the material. Featuring several well-chosen and prestigious narrators including Jeffrey Wright, Martin Sheen, Joe Morton, Terry Kinney, and Campbell Scott, the results are uniformly excellent, representing a broad spectrum of documentary styles, visual techniques, and painstakingly accurate recreations and dramatizations of the chosen events.

From the very first slaughter of Native Americans by English settlers in 1637 ("Massacre at Mystic") to the civil rights movement's "Freedom Summer" of 1964, each episode places its one-day event in vivid historical context, concisely demonstrating how these events had a ripple effect on America's national identity. Some episodes are more experimental than others: Directed by Emmy-winner R.J. Cutler, "Shay's Rebellion: America's First Civil War" (1787) employs the uniquely expressionistic animation of Bill Plympton, far removed from the more familiar (but no less effective) style of dramatization included in "Einstein's Letter" (about the famed physicist's 1939 letter urging Franklin D. Roosevelt to develop nuclear weapons) or "Scopes: The Battle Over America's Soul" (about the sensational 1925 "Monkey Trial" over the teaching of evolution). With varying degrees of documentary ingenuity, other episodes cover the California gold rush of 1849; the Civil War's bloody battle of Antietam; the violent 1892 "Homestead Strike" of united laborers against Carnegie Steel; the 1901 assassination of President William McKinley; and the dynamic appearances of Elvis Presley on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1956. Presented in chronological order, these ten films offer lasting value to history buffs, teachers, and anyone interested in understanding how American history was forged in the furnace of tumultuous change. The sole bonus feature is a 30-minute survey of each episode's director and their distinct methods of completing their assignments. Their cumulative efforts combine to form one of the most wide-ranging and fascinating series the History Channel has ever presented. --Jeff Shannon


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 14 reviews
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic Series Nov. 12 2006
By Shannon Burwell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
I love these documentaries. I don't quite understand the viewpoint of the other review. I work in the film industry and these docs are extremely well made by the best directors in documentary filmmaking.

They picked days in history that lead up to great events - turning points. They highlighted parts of our history that we rarely hear about in school or otherwise and I found them fascinating. My husband and I watched them together and would have wonderful discussions afterward. The subject matter was thought provoking and I felt showed how events from our past affect the future.

Each one was done in a different style with a different director. It seemed to me that content dictated the each style - very well executed. I highly recommend these films. Bravo!
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Great teacher resource Feb. 17 2008
By V-Tran - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
I teach US History I & II and this 3-disc DVD set is a great supplement for my curriculum. The episodes are 30-40 minutes, which are a perfect lengths for my classes. The segments are age-appropriate and not too boring for high school students. This is a must-have whether you teach US I or II.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Great supplement to the classroom June 5 2009
By L. Feldmeth - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
This is very well done. I was able to show my classes the McKinley Assassination after catching this epeisode on TV. The students found it interesting and it definitly kept their attention. The portrayal of the famous people are genuine and helps you understand the importance of the event. Recommended addition for the US History classroom.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
10 Days that unexpectedly changed America Nov. 15 2007
By Skipper - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
As a high school teacher I was looking for a quality video to supplement my lecture and this fit the bill perfectly.Easy to follow and my students realy found each lesson enriching.
use in my classroom Dec 21 2012
By Connie Galvin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
we only watch three documentaries as part of this collection, but they are historical and thought provoking. the students are amazed at the reality of their history and the conversations are fascinating.

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