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American Experience; Death and the Civil War

HOME VIDEO MASTER Death and the Civil War, NOLA Code: DECW 000000 Approximate date: 2012


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Series
American Experience
Program
Death and the Civil War
Program Number

2408

Series Description

Premiered October 1988 As television's longest-running, most-watched history series, American Experience brings to life the incredible characters and epic stories that helped form this nation. Now in its eighteenth season, the series has produced over 180 programs and garnered every major broadcast award. Series release date: 10/1988

Program Description

Two (2) hour presentation.

From filmmaker Ric Burns, "Death and the Civil War" explores an essential but largely overlooked aspect of the most pivotal event in American history.With the coming of the Civil War and the staggering casualties it ushered in, death entered the experience of the American people as it never had before -- permanently altering the character of the republic, and the psyche of the American people. The work of contending with death on an unprecedented scale propelled extraordinary changes in the inner and outer life of Americans-- posing challenges for which there were no ready answers when the war began -- challenges that called forth remarkable and eventually heroic efforts as Americans worked to improvise new solutions, new institutions, new ways of coping with death on an unimaginable scale. Based on Drew Gilpin Faust’s groundbreaking book, This Republic of Suffering –- and broadcast in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of Antietam, the bloodiest day in American history -- the film tracks the increasingly lethal arc of the war, from all but bloodless opening, through the chaos of Shiloh, Antietam, and Gettysburg -- down through the struggle, in the war’s aftermath, to cope with an American landscape littered with the bodies of hundreds of thousands of soldiers, many unburied, most unidentified.

Drawing heavily on This Republic of Suffering, historian and Harvard president Drew Gilpin Faust’s acclaimed book, “Death and the Civil War” explores a critical but largely overlooked aspect of the Civil War experience: the immense and varied implications of the war’s staggering and unprecedented death toll. The war created a veritable “republic of suffering,” as landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted described the wounded and dying arriving at Union hospital ships on the Virginia Peninsula. The shattering Civil War death toll transformed hundreds of thousands of individual lives and the life of the nation as well, from its understanding of the rights and responsibilities of citizenship to the profound struggle of a deeply religious culture to reconcile these events with a belief in a benevolent God. The film examines the increasingly lethal years of the war, focusing primarily on several key battles and their corpse-strewn aftermaths, and concludes with a section on the postwar efforts toward reburial and remembrance. The program premieres in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of Antietam, the bloodiest one-day battle in American history.

A Steeplechase Films production for American Experience.

Duration

01:58:30

Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type

Video

Genres
Documentary
Topics
History
Citation
Chicago: “American Experience; Death and the Civil War,” WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed December 4, 2016, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_08FA50AEC4E740DFA95F327F39FA6F27.
MLA: “American Experience; Death and the Civil War.” WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. December 4, 2016. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_08FA50AEC4E740DFA95F327F39FA6F27>.
APA: American Experience; Death and the Civil War. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_08FA50AEC4E740DFA95F327F39FA6F27
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