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How the States Got Their Shape

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Product Details

  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 4
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Lionsgate Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: Nov. 1 2011
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #73,502 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

We are so familiar with the map of United States, but do we know why our states look the way they do? Every line on the U.S. map tells a great story: California’s border was bent to claw onto lucrative gold deposits; Oklahoma's panhandle reflects a shifting national barometer for legal slavery; and Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia's shared border traces the scar of a meteor impact. HOW THE STATES GOT THEIR SHAPES reveals the larger story of what makes America unique: a range of natural resources, a history of social experimentation and a thriving democracy.

BONUS FEATURES: Feature-length HISTORY Special How The States Got Their Shapes

DISC 1: A River Runs Through It / The Great Plains, Trains, & Automobiles / Force of Nature / State of Rebellion

DISC 2: Living on the Edge / Use it Or Lose It / Church and States / A Boom With A View

DISC 3: Culture Clash / Mouthing Off

DISC 4: Bonus Special: How the States Got Their Shapes

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 293 reviews
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
History Channel does it again, makes the ordinary interesting March 14 2012
By Jim Clark - Published on
Format: DVD
By Jim Clark, publisher Lee County Courier, Tupelo, MS

You probably have never heard of the state of Jefferson. It may not exist on paper but it certainly rests in the minds and hearts of many who no longer call themselves Northern Californians. In 1941, some counties in the area ceremonially seceded. What stopped the real movement was America's entry into World War II, but the notion has been rekindled in recent years.
That's just one of the many interesting topics covered
the recently released DVD set, How the States Got Their Shapes.
The television series that airs on the History channel and is based on Mark Stein's book, How the States Got Their Shapes. It's hosted by Brian Unger, who was an original correspondent and producer on The Daily Show, from 1996-99. Comedy and history actually go together.
One state border runs right through the middle of a business, a bar (where it's legal to sell alcohol) and a restaurant (where it's not).
A lot of states got their shapes from rivers, but all kinds of things determined borders from bar fights, to guns, to churches and from too much water, or not enough.
One segment follows accents which was particularly entertaining. It turns out that speech coaches are most frequently hired by actors who want to not have any kind of accent.
The show started as a single two-hour special which first aired in April 2010, but returned as a regular series of one-hour shows starting in May 2011.
25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
How the States Got Their Shapes Dec 9 2011
By Berl S. Meyer - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Pretty good series that is shown on the History Channel. The humor really helps. More in line with what the History Channel should be doing to help folks get alittle geography which the younger folks probably didn't get much of in School.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Nothing New Under the Sun Jan. 3 2012
By Jay B. Lane - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
So you think graft and corruption are brand-new products of modern society? Let Brian Unger lead you around this wonderful nation of ours and you will discover two things that shaped the states: 1) Water...or the lack of it. 2) Money...and a willingness to share it with some esteemed lawmakers in Washington, D.C.

Unger takes us from coast to coast and border to border; he discovers the often seamy goings on that gave our states their individual shapes. He interviews the citizens, drives the highways, rows on the lakes and eats lots of barbecue! He discovers that there are little islands of rebels who have declared their independence from this great land of ours, and they are only partially kidding!

Colorful, scenic, interesting and entertaining, this fascinating DVD from is a painless way to get a little more insight into how this amazing nation grew.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
One of my FAVORITE shows! March 22 2012
By eshep623 - Published on
Format: DVD
I absolutely love this show. It is definitely one of my favorites ever. If you love history & geography, you will most assuredly love this show. If you don't like history or geography, this series will most likely change your mind.

The facts are fascinating. I love American history and this presents it in a way that is easy to absorb and fun to watch.

The graphics in the show are fabulous. I love it when they do the "flyovers" of the country, and how they use the US map for illustrations by switching it around or re-sizing it (sounds confusing until you see the show). The show definitely has a contemporary, fun feel to it.

Brian Unger is the perfect host for this show. He is witty, hilarious and does a fabulous job of presenting the facts in an interesting way. I know that has a lot to do with the writing, etc., but Unger adds his own flair to the show and it wouldn't be the same without it. A boring host can kill a great show quickly.

I REALLY hope that since this DVD set says "Season One" that it means they are planning on future seasons!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
We enjoy this series...only one complaint June 26 2013
By Christina C - Published on
We noticed that the same states seem to be covered over and over. We are interested in Kentucky and Tennessee, but they were not discussed at all. We learned A LOT about California, Ohio and Nevada. Love the format, love the host. Just wish there was a bit more diversity.

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