The War of 1812 on PBS

Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) premiers The War of 1812 on October 10.  The documentary is subtitled “A small but bitter war that forged the destiny of a continent.”  From the PBS website:

For two and a half years, Americans fought Against the British, Canadian colonists, and native nations.  In the years to come, the War of 1812 would be celebrated in some places and essentially forgotten in others.  But it is a war worth remembering—a struggle that threatened the existence of Canada, then divided the United States so deeply that the nation almost broke apart.  Some of its battles and heroes became legendary, yet its blunders and cowards were just as prominent.  The film shows how the glories of war became enshrined in history – how failures are quickly forgotten – how inconvenient truths are ignored forever.

With stunning re-enactments, evocative animation and the incisive commentary of key experts, The War of 1812 presents the conflict that forged the destiny of a continent.

The War of 1812 premieres Monday, October 10, 2011 at 9pm ET.  Check Local Listings to see when it’s airing on your local PBS station.

This documentary promises to be more than just a recount the events.  If the trailer is any indication, the narrative hits the legacy of the war head on.

The documentary follows our contemporary form with reenactor recreation of events – both major and minor.

Check out the web site (linked above).  There’s several pages of articles pertaining to the war, all worth browsing if your knowledge of the events needs a refresh.  Included in the mix are more previews of the documentary.

The only knock I’d make at this time is the running time.  I think anytime one attempts public interpretation of something so complex as a war (any war), the subject requires more than a couple hours.  Then again, filming time is money… and air time is allocated based on ratings.

This documentary in part prefaces the upcoming bicentennial of the War of 1812.  Yes, we “Civil War people” are caught up in stuff from 150 years back.  But I don’t see why we can’t observe both historical time lines.  I’ll even go as far to challenge my Civil War oriented readers to go visit a War of 1812 site in the next couple of years. If you live east of the Mississippi, likely one or more of these sites are within day-trip range.  Earn your bicentennial quals along with your sesquicentennial badge!

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