21 September 2012

My Review Of PBS's Death And The Civil War

Oakwood Cemetery ~ Circa 1865
I won't need several hundred words. As a matter of fact, if you just want the bottom line: you should watch it. But if you want my perspective, here ya go:

  1. Very much Union slanted - even my wife, who normally doesn't pay attention to such things, commented on the "pro-yankee" perspective.
  2. Maintains current WBTS PC orthodoxy.
  3. Nonetheless, it's a well-done and interesting film which will, for the most part, keep your attention.
  4. Death letters read in a compelling fashion with appropriate imagery adding a human face and great feeling of loss and sadness to what we often see celebrated - forgetting the carnage and pain associated with the tragedy that was the Civil War.
  5. A discussion of black Union soldiers and how they were mainly used for menial jobs, including the burying of putrefied corpses and often used as cannon fodder by the Federals. Not very complimentary of Union command in that respect, but this still does not negate point #1.
  6. Briefly discusses Oakwood Cemetery, but not in the detail it deserves. Oakwood is the largest combat casualty Confederate cemetery in the United States. It's treatment then and now would have made a great discussion.

So, there you have it. I would assign it a B-, were I grading it. Good, but it could have been better. Again, it's worth watching and I would recommend you do so if given the opportunity.


13thBama said...

At first, I thought you were referring to "PBS's Death". But alas, no, it was PBS's "Death and the Civil War".

It would have saved us lots of money.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

I actually watch PBS more than any other station, though I don't watch a lot of TV. I agree though, they are the Al Jazeera of the American left. Our local affiliate airs some really good Virginia history shows - they've been doing several hours on Virgina history on Thursday nights, some good CW docs with James Robertson, etc.

I don't watch their news programs at all - pure propaganda. I get ALL my news from radio and the internet. I do like a lot of the British mystery shows though. They're very well done.

BorderRuffian said...

Let's see-

After the war, millions of tax dollars were spent for the recovery and burial of Union dead. No tax dollars for the recovery of Confederate dead.

Former Confederates, widows, sons and daughters of dead Confederate soldiers supplied some of those tax dollars.

Fast forward to 2012.

PBS -funded by tax dollars and donations from the general public- produces a program about the Civil War dead. About 90% of the program is about the Union dead.

Descendants of Confederate veterans supplied a lot of those tax dollars and donations.


Not much has changed.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

BR - you're right. Which reminds me of why Lincoln did not want to "let the South go."

Moreover, proportionally, more Southerners have served in the Armed Forces. Great way to say "thank you", huh?

13thBama said...

It sounds like the same problem we had in 1861 we still have today: The gulf between cultures is too large to bridge.

Set them adrift!

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

This just in . . .

Mitt Romney's presidential campaign is releasing a brief summary of 20 years of tax returns on Friday, and his accountant says it will show he gave 13.45 percent of his adjusted gross income to charities.

That's nearly twice the rate of President Obama, who according to his tax returns from 2000 through 2011 donated just less than 7 percent of his adjusted gross income to charities.

Read more: Romney doubles Obama's charitable giving - Washington Times http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/inside-politics/2012/sep/21/romney-doubles-obamas-charitable-giving/#ixzz278SbwjwA
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

Kinda illustrates the different worldviews, doesn't it?

Jimmy Price said...

"No tax dollars for the recovery of Confederate dead."


Please explain the Confederate Section of Arlington National Cemetery. Over 500 former Rebels - including Moses Eziekiel - in a section adorned with a huge (and very moving) monument in Section 16.

Or the grave of Joe Wheeler in Section 2?

Or the very high probability that that there are Confederate remains intermingled with the 2,111 bodies interred in the tomb of the Civil War unknowns?

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Jimmy - yes, very underwhelming.

Anonymous said...

I watched the PBS show and it was powerful. It left me wanting to puke. I agree that it was northern-slanted... most are. But the horror of the War and its aftermath were driven home. I am an S.O.B. (Son of Both), so I have ancestors who fought valiantly on either side of the Mason-Dixon line. I agree with you: a B-. Worth watching but also worth some criticism.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

But remember, with much of this stuff, it's sociology, not history.