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Sweet Land of Liberty: The 20th Century DVD Review by Erica Beyea

Memorable Moments in American History
Marshall Publishing & Promotions, Inc.
123 S. Hough St.
Barrington, IL 60010

‘Sweet Land of Liberty’ is a 70 minute long DVD that chronicles the historical highlights of 20th century America. It is composed of seven separate segments that range from six to thirteen minutes each. Viewers can watch the entire video in one sitting, or educators can select the segment that corresponds with their subject matter, using it to enhance their lesson. Each segment covers an important topic that is crucial to understanding 20th century American history as a whole.

Through the use of actual photo, audio, and video footage, the narrator vividly describes the events as they took place, at times focusing on obscure facts that bring to light a behind-the-scenes look at the historical events. Historical events covered on this DVD begin with the Civil Rights struggle from its roots in the early 1900’s through the life of Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960’s. Other segments included are the Great Depression and recovery under FDR, World War II, and the use of atomic weapons, suburban spread and technology growth of the 1950’s, the Space Race, the Cold War and American relations abroad, the Korean War, and the Vietnam Conflict.

While focusing on these major events, this DVD gives much attention to finer details that help the viewer understand the big picture of how each of these events interlocks in American history, and how it has affected our American psyche as a whole.

The video recommends using each segment as an introduction to that era of study for middle school and high school students. Each segment is introduced with a short animated graphic, and definitely is effective at piquing the interest for further study by covering so many interesting tidbits of information in each short segment.

Since we have several ages studying different eras of American history, we chose to watch this entire video in one sitting. It was thrilling to hear and see video clips of famous speeches that we have studied, and to watch the Eagle land on the moon. Apart from the outdated graphics animation at the start of each new topic, the video segments themselves were clear and easy to comprehend. It was wonderful to hear the children’s enthusiasm over facts they already knew, their wonder at learning new facts, and piecing it all together to gain a better grasp on their American history. It was amazing to watch the video clips in the last segment, covering the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1991. I remember actually living through those times, and I was able to vividly describe it to my children. Dad enjoyed the segment on the growth of the automobile industry, seeing all the classic cars, and really understanding how automobile travel impacted the technological and financial expansion of our nation.

This DVD currently sells for $19.95. It is a DVD that we will use repeatedly to enhance our American History studies, as we watch each segment separately to allow our children to view famous speeches or video footage of their current topic of study. This video compiles many of the crucial moments of 20th century America into an appealing source of information for middle-high school students, or anyone who desires to have a better understanding of America.

—Product Review by Erica Beyea, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October, 2015