America The Story of Us is a series (12 hours) of docudramas that aired over six days on the History Channel last year. The national educational initiative covers the 400 years of American history. I asked for and received a review copy and spent the last two weeks taking time to view the series and determine if and how I would use the episodes. I am pleased to report that I really like the mood, information, and approach to American history as presented by HC’s THE STORY OF US.
FROM HC: Narrated by Liev Schreiber, the series tells the extraordinary story of how America was invented, looking at the moments where Americans harnessed technology to advance human progress—from the rigors of linking the continent by transcontinental railroad, the internet of its day, to triumphing over vertical space through construction of steel structured buildings. “America The Story of Us” is also a story of conflict—with Native American peoples, slavery, the revolutionary war that birthed the nation, the Civil War that divided it and the great world war that shaped its future. “America The Story of Us” takes a look at the forces that have shaped our nation—the people, places and things that created this most astounding country. It’s a tough and thrilling adventure.
Each “Docudrama” presents several historic stories as it weaves the historical narrative of how this country came to be. Some stories inspire and awe, others challenge the historical senses and do so in impacting ways. The injection of numerous Hollywood stars and influential political figures was effective, though at times odd. But nonetheless, this did not take away from the presentation.
I am already in the process of designing lessons, activities, and worksheets for use in my regular and AP US History classes. I will be sure to share those over the course of the coming months.
MORE: “America the Story of Us” is produced for History by Nutopia. Jane Root is Executive Producer, Michael Jackson is co-Executive Producer and Ben Goold is the Showrunner for “America The Story of Us.” For History, Nancy Dubuc, David McKillop and Julian P. Hobbs are Executive Producers. “America The Story of Us” is being presented by Bank of America.