DVD Review: America: The Story Of Us: Rebels
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America: The Story Of Us: Rebels
DVD | Instant Video
Narrated by Liev Schreiber
History Channel
Release Date: August 16, 2011

This is the first time I have been asked to review something from a channel that I watch more than any other. I loved this mini-series when it came out but watching it without commercials is far superior to my original viewing. I was very excited to have this opportunity to spend an evening watching and writing about America: The Story Of Us: Rebels.

History Channel does an excellent job of bringing the story to life and allowing the viewer to immerse themselves in it on every available level. I love the way the storyboards in this initial episode are set to show the settlements being built and the population increasing and expanding throughout the new world. We see how the cultivation of tobacco positively impacted the settlers and allowed them to thrive in the harsh new land. Showing how the native tribes helped these early settlers grow food and hunt in order to survive, the first part of this episode really concentrates on how these hardy folk adapted to their new country.

Another part of this story concentrates on the nineteen families that came to America on the Mayflower. This, of course, leads us to the story of Thanksgiving and how the local population embraced these new people from a far away land. Because, trust me, if it had not been for the native Americans those families would not have lasted a year. Survival is always proper motivation to find common ground on which to exist.

The final section of this show deals with the oppression that Britain laid upon the shoulders of these brave men and women, taxing them from thousands of miles away after having felt none of the burdens of these founding fathers (and mothers). Rising up in the face of tyranny, knowing that they were committing what amounted to high treason, these patriots decided to stand up and fight. Leading the viewer into the second episode, titled…

Revolution,” a detailed account of how the new lands came to be The United States Of America. With George Washington at the head of the ragtag army of colonials, through intelligence and bravery, these heroes fought and died for something they could not yet realize. Defying all odds, the army is subjected to everything from typical hunger to harsh climate to small pox, only to emerge more resilient and more determined to win.

The manner in which the show utilizes actual individuals to humanize the story really lends credibility to the overall viewing pleasure. We are given to know who is actually pivotal in these historical tales, emphasizing their roles in turning the tide of the war at key points. It gives the viewer a sense of history without overwhelming them with facts. Certain well known pieces, such as Paul Revere’s ride and the horrors of life at Valley Forge, help to create an excellent story for anyone to not just enjoy but also from which they can learn.

Never glamorizing war or exploiting history to force anything upon the viewer, the first disc in this series is a great jumping off point for the casual historian and for anyone just simply wanting an overview of these events. Not as heavily detailed as many of their other shows have been, it is an easy series to casually enjoy and one that I highly recommend for anyone unfamiliar with the early years of America.

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