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Daniel Martin Berkey,
James William Barker
Follow-up to America: The Story of the US (2010). Mankind embraces a groundbreaking way of telling this epic human story. Drawing on a growing global interest in a revelatory field of history, now adopted by universities across the globe. 'Big history' focuses on the forces of nature to show how mankind's path is guided by events that stretch back, not hundreds, but thousands of millions of years. How the power of science, from geology and astronomy, to physics and biology combined to shape our shared human journey. Revealing astounding global connections and an astonishing interconnected story, this is history without limits, free from boundaries and politics. Our story, like it's never been told before. Written by
Himself - Narrator:
[opening narration for each episode]
Amidst the chaos of an unforgiving planet most species will fail. But for one, all the pieces will fall into place, and a set of keys will unlock a path for mankind to triumph. This is our story, the story of all of us.
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This series has great visuals, but other than that it is downright terrible. First, It completely skips over ancient Indian civilization (mohenjo-daro anyone?), an ancient people that every ancient historian considers vital to the development of world civilization. I was also equally amazed that the series skipped over the transformation of Rome from a Republic to an Empire (Julius Caesar and Augustus anyone?). Rulers have been calling themselves Caesars/Czars/Kaisers for thousands of years, but no mention of Caesar? Incredibly, the series also omits Charlemagne and the Franks (the group who would lay the foundations for France and Germany), the Byzantine Empire, and perhaps most incredibly of all, Napoleon. I find it absolutely mind-blowing that these subjects wouldn't be included in a history of the world. World War I and II were glossed over, and far too much time is spent on less important events like the invention of the crossbow. The American Revolution and Civil War are similar overblown in their effect on the world. Last but not least, many of the 'facts' presented are either untrue or simply opinions that would be ignored in the academic community. An example of this is the coverage of the American revolution - the involvement of the French is left out and the documentary describes the British surrendering solely to the rebels at Yorktown. In reality, the British surrendered to a mixed army of American rebels and the French army - a victory made possible by the naval victory of the French over the British off the coast of Virginia. I had really hoped to show this series to my students but instead I will tell them that this is simply an entertainment show that is not to be taken seriously as a historical documentary. Other than Mike Loades I have never even heard of any of these 'historical experts'. I have absolutely no idea why Brian Williams from NBC, a news commentator, is featured in a historical documentary series. There is a plethora of respected historians who could have been consulted for this series - but instead the history channel decides to settle with Brian Williams and a few unknown authors. They should have consulted historians such as Kelly DeVries (UMD) as they did in other more serious historical documentaries. Stay away from this one if you want a serious historical overview of human history.
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