Bookmark This! America, the Story of Us on History Channel

screenshot history channel
Thu 22 2010

On Sunday, April 25, the History Channel premiers America, the Story of Us, a 12-part, series airing over six weeks, "the epic tale of how America was built from the ground up," and focusing on how everyday Americans harnessed technology to advance human progress.

The History Channel describes the program as "...the first television event in nearly 40 years to present a comprehensive telling of America's history. Elaborate, ambitious and cinematic..."

We're hoping the adjectives accurate, thought-provoking, and balanced also come into play.

An early review, History From Unexpected Characters in the New York Times emphasizes that the program is definitely not your typical PBS-style documentary and clarifies the backstory and techniques utilized to create the series. The series is not intended for the scholarly audience, but is an attempt "to rope in viewers whose experience of United States history may be limited to their school history classes," according to the Times.

History Channel provides episode guides for the inaugural programs, Rebels and Revolution. An Articles section links to related essays and videos on topics such as Exploration of North America and Valley Forge. According to episode trailers, historian Danial Walker Howe, journalists Tom Brokaw and Brian Williams, and fashion consultant Tim Gunn (yes, THAT Tim Gunn—of Project Runway, etcetera) are among episode narrators. In fact, businessman Donald Trump kicks off commentary on Jamestown and the tobacco business.

Just for fun, take the Ultimate History Quiz at the History Channel. You have the option of signing up and challenging others and sharing scores. Speed and accuracy both count, and be forewarned: pop culture and world leaders figure prominently—at least in some rounds.

About the Author

Lee Ann Ghajar is a digital history associate in Public Projects at CHNM and a PhD candidate in American history at George Mason University.