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11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Decent history lesson.

6/10
Author: Robert J. Maxwell (rmax304823@yahoo.com) from Deming, New Mexico, USA
22 April 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This brand new documentary on The History Channel isn't bad at all, though it seems to carry with it a certain limited view of its own demographics.

It's historically accurate, at least as far as I can tell, and has reasonably good production values.

When I say that it has a limited view of its demographics, what I mean is that it is designed as if its intentions were to draw in the lowbrows and pubescent kids in the audience and have them cheering at the violence and villainy. It reads rather like a tabloid news article and begins by telling us right off the bat that William Tecumsah Sherman is still thought of in many circles as a bloodthirsty and ravenous pillager. Fortunately, by the end, the myth of Sherman's march has been corrected and that, maybe, is the most important feature of the film.

There are quite a few quotes from letters, diaries, and official records. They tend to keep the dialog stilted but thoroughly believable. The actors don't help. Whoever plays Sherman LOOKS enough like Sherman. The poor guy who plays Grant looks like he was chosen because he happened to look more like Grant than any of the other non-actors available. Under that kempt beard he seems Hollywood handsome.

Maybe I'm asking too much of the film to address itself to an adult audience. Maybe there should be a bit of the tabloid style in it. It was only a few years ago that a national survey revealed that more than half of high-school seniors couldn't place the American Civil War in its proper half century. (It was 1861 to 1865, kids. PS: the North won.) Sherman's mythos has grown glorious over the years. Every Southerner's great-great-grandfather seems to have had his barn burned by Sherman, even if he was nowhere near it. Northerners tend not to know or care about Sherman because their great-great-grandfathers lived in Lithuania at the time and their families didn't come to these shores until 1902. I'm only kidding, but I'm doing it in order to emphasize the fact that Sherman is a much more important figure in Southern folk history than he is in the North. Hitler's "popularity" will probably also outlive that of the men who won the war. For all our faith in angels, we really seem to NEED the devil.

Some tidbits are left out. After first Bull Run, says a talking head, Sherman was "unjustly accused of being crazy," whereas he sounds like a pretty good example of a bipolar to me. And Sherman didn't simply "hate the South," as the film says. He actually had many Southern friends. He was not only the "failed businessman" of the film; he'd been a professor for some years at an institution that was to become Louisiana State University.

It would be nice to believe that this program will be seen by all school kids. Maybe we can bump up the percentage who have heard of the Civil War. Adults will find it interesting as well. It's colorful, full of action, and presented in a way that doesn't make the issues difficult to grasp.

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Good Documentary on the Subject

Author: Michael_Elliott from Louisville, KY
20 November 2012

Sherman's March (2007)

*** (out of 4)

Good, well-detailed documentary taking a look at the controversial move by Gen. William T. Sherman to take 60,000 Union troops through the heart of Georgia and all the way to the sea. SHERMAN'S MARCH is certainly an extremely well-made movie that goes into great detail in regards to just about everything that was going on during this period. We get a brief history of what Sherman had been doing with his life up to the Civil War and then we get to hear how he was able to rise during the war. Once it comes time for the march we hear about the original plans, the fact that both Grant and Lincoln thought it would fail and we also hear about the changes in plans as things moved along. I think history buffs will be very happy with the way everything is shown here as we get some pretty good re-enactments as well as several history experts talking about the legendary march. There's a pretty good talk about Sherman's own thoughts on slavery and how his views were often quite different when he would actually meet slaves. While this thing isn't anywhere near the brilliance of Ken Burns' THE CIVIL WAR, it's still a good documentary that film and history buffs should enjoy.

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