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America in the 20th Century (series)1.  The Post-War Years; 2.  Vietnam cover image

America in the 20th Century (series)1. The Post-War Years; 2. Vietnam 2009

Highly Recommended

Distributed by Media Rich Learning, 3 Cypress Lane, Chesterton, IN 46304; 773-909-7124
Produced by Brent Hannigan, Richard Hawksworth, Shelley Spencer
Director n/a
DVD, color, 45 min. - The Post-War Years; 75 min. - The Vietnam War

Jr. High - Adult
American Studies, History

Date Entered: 06/08/2009

Reviewed by Gloria Maxwell, Reference Librarian, Penn Valley Community College, Kansas City, MO

The Post War Years and The Vietnam War are part of a 12-part series, America in the 20th Century, that looks at American history from the turn of the 20th Century through the 1980s. These two episodes provide a focused look at the important events that occurred during the post World War II years, leading to the Cold War era and the events leading to the turbulent 1960s. Combining archival news footage of people and events with explanatory narrative provides a compelling overview of these important years and the events that shaped our nation’s history. The Cold War episode details the various events that moved the Soviet Union and the United States into a standoff that lasted for several decades and an escalating arms race that made civil defense drills a routine activity. The Vietnam War becomes more comprehensible when the myriad events following WWII are examined, starting with France’s colonial struggle with Vietnam, leading to communist influences and support while understanding the United States’ extreme worry about the spread of communism and fear of the “domino theory” as preached by President Eisenhower. The segments on the Civil Rights struggle and the war in Vietnam become powerful through the use of actual news footage.

Overall audio and video qualities are very good. The inclusion of colored maps, engaging soundtracks and graphics bring this time period to life in a powerful and memorable way. Each program is organized by “video chapters” which allows teachers to pause the program and use chapters as separate learning modules. This also allows teachers to use only part of a class period on the DVD, depending on the available classroom time. These are both very powerful teaching tools. The Media Rich Learning website provides vocabulary and biography information to accompany the DVDs. Teacher’s Guides are available as free online downloads at the Media Rich Learning website. This series is correlated to the National Standards for Social Studies.

This set would be suitable for all junior high and high school library collections, public libraries and community college collections.

Highly recommended.