Sherman's March @ The History Channel
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Review from The Patriot Resource:
This presentation from The History Channel concentrates on General William Tecumseh Sherman's five-week long campaign from Atlanta to Savannah in November-December 1864. To the Union, he became a hero for breaking the back of the Confederacy. To the South, he became infamous for his use of "total war." He's a polarizing figure even to this day. The presentation attempts to give a balanced look at Sherman's March. Of note, the Patriot Resource received a fine cut, which looked to have completed special effects, but had a temp soundtrack and narrator. Aside from occasionally noticing the heavy repetition of the temp soundtrack, we didn't find the presentation to be "incomplete."
The presentation follows The History Channel's format of making use of dramatic reenactments. However, aside from a few monologues from Sherman, this presentation doesn't seem to be as reenactment-heavy as the last two presentations that The Patriot Resource reviewed: Washington the Warrior
and Desperate Crossing
, reversing a trend. Though much of the presentation was filled with footage of reenactments, it was mostly battle scenes or characters looking introspective while the narrator recournted events. This gave the presentation much more of a documentary feel than the other two aforementioned presentations. We actually feel that this approach worked just fine as we found the pacing of the presentation to our liking.
As mentioned above, the presentation attempted to be even-handed, although those who despise Sherman will likely not come away from the presentation with much of a change of perspective and also find the piece "pro-Sherman." Discussion of Sherman's use of total war seems to let him off the hook, especially for atrocities committed by his troops as the marched. However, there is one emphatic event to the contrary, which is when Sherman orders the execution of a Confederate officer in response to Southern belligerence to his campaign. The execution is carried out, though it's emphasized that all of his own men disapproved of Sherman's order.
Though the core of the presentation deals with Sherman's (in)famous march, Sherman does get a full biographical overview as background to his march. One thing we found worth filing away is that Sherman had been out of the military for ten years and had been a failure as a businessman when the Civil War began. He seems to have been a soldier in need of a war. Also of note was his close friendship with General Ulysses Grant. His loyalty to Grant and lack of interest in capitalizing on his personal successes to supplant Grant as Commander of the Union Army was admirable, especially considering the politics that had involved that position throughout the war.
The result of the biographical overview is to humanize the "devil that went to Georgia." This along with the designated experts explaining the logic of Sherman's total war even while acknowledging the resentment in the South that it created, ended up giving The Patriot Resource a mostly positive impression of Sherman and his march. We found the presentation well-done and thorough, It also didn't hurt that the presentation felt more like a documentary and less like a presentation, which is the approach that we prefer. For those who are casual Civil War buffs, we recommend this presentation for the wealth of objective historical content concerning Sherman the person and Sherman's March. We don't hesitate in recommending tuning in for this presentation.
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