DOASKDOTELL Reviews of some PBS Documentaries

A Lion in the House (2006, PBS, dir. Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert, 225 min) did well at 2006 Sundance and is a disturbing and sometimes visually explicit documentary about the lives of five families in the Cincinnati area dealing with children with cancer. The film is graphic in medical and social detail. A twenty year old boy fights gruesome side effects from chemotherapy and surgery for brain and spinal leukemia, but finally wins another remission, after being determined to keep on fighting, as the doctors discuss hospice possibilities. Suddenly, however, he will succumb, and the film actually shows handling his body right after death—his withered, ghostly face, and healthier looking legs, as if to communicate visually a moral ambiguity. A young African American has a feeding tube installed, with the vomiting shown on camera. Later a victim’s mother will explain how her co-workers sacrificed personal vacations through leave banking so she could keep her health insurance. For a girl who survives, the documentary explains how spinal and brain chemotherapy reduces IQ scores and cognitive learning, causing her to have be tutored and to loose a lot of academic progress in elementary school.  One of the patent’s mothers goes back to work, in a child care center, and the film shows her changing a toddler’s diapers, on camera, distant – a visual clue of the emotional “real life” for many people. This film is in two parts, first on June 22-23, 2006 on PBS ‘Independent Lens.” This is an exercise in how far a documentary filmmaker can go. The people here inhabit an emotional world, not of their choosing, beyond what I have ever experienced or could ever survive. It is not far from horror.

Journey of Man (2004, PBS, narr. Spencer Wells, 120 min) traces the genetic lineage of man (homo sapiens) through fathers’ make Y chromosomes all the way back to a single ancestor in the bushmen of Africa about 50000 years ago. When sea levels were lower because of ice ages, man first made a journey to Australia, then another one to Central Asia, and then Y-ed to bridge to the Americas and also go to Europe. The races of man are not explained as in Genesis, but by isolation and by the reaction of the body to climate. Persons in more polar locations need more sun to make vitamin D, where is peoples in equatorial regions need melanin to protect them from ultraviolet light. People in very cold climates need to be short and squatty to preserve body heat. Wells travels to the most remote regions of the world, including an incredible journey into primitive conditions in the Siberian arctic to meet an intermediate Chutchi tribal ancestor living in a tribe that hunts reindeer, which in turn live off of lichens scraped from the permafrost; so lichens enabled man to make the journey to the Americas and become native Americans. 

Liberty: The American Revolution: The Reluctant Revolutionaries (1997, PBS, 60 min) is as interesting an account of the pre-Revolutionary War period as anyone has made. The narrative places particular focus on the idea that British family values assumed that family lineage associated with aristocracy made one “better” than others, and that on in America could individuals make their own way regardless of family heritage, at least starting out as landowners. Then one could have a “public role.” Of course, they had a long way to go (from resisting the Stamp Act and the Boston Tea Party).  

The War that Made America (2005, PBS, dir. Eric Stange, narr. Graham Greene, 220 min) chronicles the French and Indian War, as part of the European Seven Years War between England and France, that would see the British wrestling away the loyalty of native Americans in order to consolidate their empire in eastern North America all the way to Canada, only to see the empire crumble soon. The early career of George Washington, quite an accomplished officer as a young man (and who would remain childless) is presented. Indians often captured families and used forced women to breed and used captive frontier families as manpower. Toward the end of the struggle, the British used blankets infected with smallpox to eradicate Indians, an early example of biological war that anticipates today’s concerns with bioterrorism.  

Slavery and the Making of America (2005, PBS, narr. Morgan Freeman, 115 min) is a history of slavery in America from its introduction in “New Amsterdam” to the eve of the Civil War. It was originally a form of indentured servitude, until around 1700 when imported blacks effectively became property. They would value their won family life even as their European owners saw them as chattel. A basic contradiction would ensue during the American Revolution, as the colonists sought emancipation from Britain but clung to the institution that made their prosperity possible. Even Thomas Jefferson owned 250 slaves, and could not bring himself to use the word “slave” in national documents. There is an episode where the boy Thomas Jefferson is shown playing with the slave Jupiter, before the boys are able to even understand the concept of slavery. There was a slave woman who branded her arm but then overheard many of the discussions of the founding fathers at Mount Vernon. The 3/5 rule was an early example of how the new country tried to deal with it. In time, free blacks in northern states would start talking about the contradiction, as with the Walker “Appeal” circulated from Massachusetts. The entire experiment in freedom that we call America is presented in this film as predicated on slavery and involuntary servitude of others.  One more question remains: how is one supposed to value a life that is defined as second-class or subordinate to the will of another?

The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg (2004, PBS/IFP/Cinemax), aired on Baltimore PBS on April 13, 2004, is a documentary of the life of baseball slugger and (for most of his career) Detroit Tiger Hank Greenberg, the first baseball star with a Jewish background, foreshadowing Jackie Robinson later as the first African American player (soon to be followed by Larry Doby, Minnie Minoso, etc.) He did have to fight anti-Semitism, and would get drafted during World War II, but recover his skills quickly when he came back. There is wonderful footage of all the old ballparks. Hank is rather breathtaking to look at in the photos, with those great hairy arms, and his injury recoveries were remarkable. The film does remind me of Ken Burns and Baseball

Raising Cain (2005, PBS, dir. Paul Stern, Wr. And Narr. Michael Thompson, 116 min) is a strong documentary made in the Boston area about the raising of boys and the environmental explanations of the often anti-social behavior of young males. Boys are taught to deny feelings and be “tough” at an early age and later they need specific skills to establish self-worth within a peer group before they can develop adult interests in family. The demand for conformity to aggressive male gender roles seems to be related to a moral belief that everyone must participate in protecting family members (women and children) in an adversarial and tribal world, and that this responsibility exists even before having children. (Look at the title, “Boys Don’t Cry” above!)  Boys are also disadvantaged by a slightly later time for biological maturity than girls. There is some presentation of the value of unisex education, and a somewhat intimate setting of a 5th grade class and the problems boys often have in paying attention, even to a male teacher. This should not be confused with the 1992 film directed by Brian de Palma (Universal).

Remaking American Medicine: Healthcare (2006, PBS, 60 min) provided an interesting discussion of a number of modern patient care issues, particularly nosocomial (hospital-acquired) infections, especially certain staphylococcus infections. Extreme care with cleanliness and possibly pre-surgery or pre-treatment scrubs would seem necessary, which could provide some interesting scenarios for male doctors and nurses. The documentary was filled among hospitals in the Pittsburgh area, and made the point that sharing of information sometimes violates HIPAA or at least might make hospitals feel that they were giving up competitive or trade secrets. A very interesting presentation (October 2006).  

Frank Lloyd Wright (1998, Florentine/PBS, dir. Ken Burns, I and II, 180 min) is a documentary biography of the famous architect. Many objectivists consider Ayn Rand's character Howard Roark from her novel The Fountainhead to be based on him. He was born in Wisconsin in 1867 and doted on as an only son by his mother, who was determined he would succeed in building. His father made him do farm chores, and Frank resented that, and the marriage fell apart. Frank left for Chicago (shortly after the Great Chicago Fire) and worked for Louis Sullivan, often living beyond his means, especially after marrying. He moonlighted for wealthy clients and got fired for lying to his boss and "conflict of interest." But he started his own business (saying he had "quit") and developed his own style for homes, with simple exteriors and unified spaces, rather than separate box rooms, indoors.  His life reached a low point in the 1920s, and he rehabilitated his life by starting an apprentice camp where he and his second wife regulated the lives of live-in apprentices (Trump style?) even to the point of arranging marriages.  For all of his rugged individualism, he seemed to impose collectivist values on others. I visited the Wright house southeast of Pittsburgh myself in 1995. Wright's motto was "truth is life" but his character did not always match the motto.  The film's music score is based on Beethoven.  See also Sketches of Frank Gehry (with My Architect and Magnificent Obsession: Frank Lloyd Wright's Buildings and Legacy in Japan).

The Mystery of Love (2006, PBS/Independent Production, G) is a documentary exploring love in family, friendship, animals (chimps), even the military. The website is http://www.pbs.org/mysteryoflove/ Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr., Betty Sue Flowers, Ph.D., Ethel Person, M.D., Rabbi Alan Lew, and Frances Vaughan, Ph.D.  The title reminds me of Van Tier's "In Praise of Love." 

Frontline: World (2007) had a 30 minute segment (around Jan. 30) about the infiltration by Canadian police with a mole inside a sleeper cell in Toronto, around 2004.  There were connections to the assassination of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh in Amsterdam, as well as family in Atlanta. Mubin Shaikh is the target of investigation after two years in the cell.

The Supreme Court (2006, PBS, about 220 min) is a fascinating narrative history of the Supreme Court, which in the beginning was not considered to have significant power. The Marbury v. Madison opinion that established judicial review grew out of a philosophical struggle between Jeffersonians and John Marshall, and the opinion itself is somewhat of a "monument to convolution" of delicate logical implications with far reaching impacts. For years the justices boarded together almost as a military unit for their sessions, to get almost like a "band of brothers". McCullough v. Maryland would establish that a state could not supersede the federal government. The Dred Scott decision would repudiate the idea that slaves had been intended to be included as equals. But after the Civil War, the Court would, after the 14th Amendment with the incorporation doctrine, have to establish the idea that blacks were supposed to be equal under the law, not subject to separate protection. The same would be true of laborers -- an idea related to "liberty of contract" from Stephen Field. The Court would not establish that individuals could prevent private individuals or entities from discriminating against them, for a long time "Darwinian" or "Spencerian" philosophy would hold sway against what seems unjust to many in the modern world. Part 1 is "One Nation Under Law: A New Kind of Justice." Part 2 is "A Nation of Liberties: The Rehnquist Revolution." It covers the Warren court, with the activism on fundamental rights (the Brown v. Board of Education "all deliberate speed" threatened the authority of the Court -- it's interesting that in 1965 the Court ordered a Virginia school district to spend money to reopen public schools as integrated), and the Rehnquist court, which it says went from making the rules of the game to being the game. Website on pbs: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/supremecourt/index.html  

Eyes on the Prize (1987, PBS, dir. Henry Hampton, 360 min, starts with a 110 minute summary) is a history of the Civil Rights movement from the early 1950s to the signing of major civil rights laws and voting rights laws during the Johnson administration. Much of the footage covers the controversy over desegregating schools in several southern cities, as well as the sit-ins at public accommodations. There is a tone in the comments of many of the white southerners that African Americans are biologically inferior and unfit for equality. This seems to get mixed up with "family values" as we debate them today. There is a lot of original black-and-white footage of Nashville, Little Rock, and Birmingham. What is the "Prize"? 

Marines (2007, PBS, dir. John Grant, 85 min) documents basic combat training and officer candidate school for Marines. OCS takes place at Quantico, VA, and includes an exercise in a natural sewer called Quigley. The USMC (the land force of the US Navy) is the smallest and newest of the services, views itself as the "tip of the spear" and that the service comprises a real warrior class, of people (including men) who think of themselves as a team and who do not always behave out of self-interest as most people perceive it. (Do not confuse with "The Marine" (2006, 20th Century Fox, dir. John Bonito, which I have not yet seen.) Here is a blogger entry about the U.S. Marine Corps Museum at Quantico, VA.

The Boomer Century: 1946-2046 (2007, PBS), website, traces the history of the social and ethical values of the Baby Boomers, who are depicted as born with silver spoons, and having to deal with unprecedented ethical issues (like eldercare, social security, savings, pensions) in their own generation as seniors. The 50s is shown as a time of prosperity and superficial conformity, that did not know how to deal with dissent, because of remnants of tribal family values.   The 60s turned into the Me Generation, that would gradually have to deal with the reality of the world, getting jobs done and raising kids, and would gradually recognize the importance of volunteerism. An important theme in the documentary is the growth of easy credit and loss of savings ethic. I was born in 1943 and still consider myself part of this generation. 

 Frontline: Living Old (2006, PBS, 60 min), on blogspot.

Frontline: Inside the Teenage Brain (2002, dir. Sarah Spinks), blogspot.

Frontline: Return of the Taliban (2008) (pr. Martin Smith), blogspot.

Frontline: Bush's War (2008) (270 min, in 2 parts). A detailed history starting with 9/11 of our military intervention in Iraq. Blogger.

American Masters: Andy Warhol (moved); Julliard (with Kevin Spacey, Val Kilmer, James Levine; blogspot)

I Shot Andy Warhol  (moved)

Marie Antoinette (moved, reviewed with Columbia film of same name)

World in the Balance: The People Paradox (2006: PBS Nova) blogspot

Anti-Semitism in the 21st Century: The Resurgence (2006, PBS, dir. Andrew Goldberg, with Judy Woodruff), explains concepts like theocide and "blood libel", blogspot link.

22nd Century (2006, Boston Science), blogger

Three Faiths, One God (2007, PBS Connecticut / Auteur, dir. Gerard Krell & Meyer Odze, 2 hrs), blogger.

America at a Crossroads (2007, PBS / Paladin Invision, 12 hours in 11 segments, Apr 15-20, dir. William Cran and others) is a  documentary about the challenge that America faces in confronting radical Islam around the world. See the blogger entry link provided.

Segments include: "Jihad: The Men and Ideas Behind Al Qaeda" "Warriors" "Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience."; "Gangs of Iraq"; "The Case for War: In Defense of Freedom" (with John Richard Perle); "Europe's 9/11"; "The Muslim Americans"; "Faith Without Fear", "Struggle for the Soul of Islam: Inside Indonesia", "Security versus Liberty: The Other War", and "The Brotherhood".  Two more segments on Nov. 26 2007 were "Homegrown: Islam in Prison" and "Campus Battlegrounds".   

The Mormons (2007, PBS / American Masters / American Experience / Frontline, dir. Helen Whitney), 240 min, April 30 and May 1.

The War (2007, dir. Ken Burns, 15 hours) is a monumental documentary series on World War II, with a lot of emphasis on the home front in the cities of Mobile, AL; Luverne, MN; Waterbury, CN; and Sacramento, CA.  Blogger review.

10th Inning (2010, dir. Ken Burns, 4 hours) sequel to “Baseball”; George Will talks a lot. Blogger.

Homefront: World War II in Washington (2007, PBS/WETA, 80 min)  Blogger.

Question of God: C. S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud (2007, PBS). Dr. Armand Nicholi interviews a psychiatrist and religion professor and others about the contrasts in philosophies between these two famous thinkers, and discusses the intellectual process (and introspective and reflexive) by which Lewis came to Christianity. Related book review.

Rough Science (2000). Scientists go to New Zealand South Island to pan for gold and make a souvenir, working in a sawmill and using their wits but no modern equipment. "Gold Rush" "Shakers" "Quakers" "Ice" "Treasure Hunt" "The Big melt." Kate Humble, Mike Bullivant, Hermione Cockburn, Jonathan Hare, Ellen McCallie. You really do get to see the gold dust. The scientists demonstrate leeching it with mercury. The also measure the retreat of a glacier and find that it is melting (global warming, perhaps).

Disc 2 (2002) the scientists are in Death Valley, CA with a side trip to meteor crater, AZ. Based in an abandoned silver mine (I wonder how close to Scott's Castle), they do exercises preparing for exploring Mars and other planets, such as making a rover and a carbon dioxide filter (as was made on Apollo 13). The episodes are called "Rover", Communication", "SpaceSuit", "Impact", "Aerial Surveyor", and "Rocket".  Music includes the Pizzicato Polka ("Lucky Penny!") and Thus Spake Zarathustra (2001).

Wired Science (2007) a new series based on Wired Magazine, blogger here. Initial reports were about a botnet denial of service Internet attack in Estonia, robotic coronary bypass surgery, facial mechanics research to help kids with Asperger's syndrome, and the demise of chemistry sets.

Nature: Penguins of the Antarctic (2008).

Nature: Andes: The Dragon's Back (2007). blogger review.

Frontline: The Dark Side (2006, PBS, dir. Michael Kirk, 90 min) and "Cheney's Law" (2007, same director, 60 min). blogger.

Nova: Athens: The Dawn of Democracy (2007, PBS), blogger review.

Nova: Ape Genius (2007, PBS), a study of how human intelligence differs from that of chimpanzees. Blogger review.

American Experience: The Man Behind Hitler (2007, PBS, dir. Kurz Hachmeister), a documentary about Joseph Goebbels, with Kenneth Branagh reading his letters to live footage of life in Germany from 1931 through 1945. Blogger.

American Experience: The Nuremberg Trials (2007) tracks the trial of Hermann Goering at Nuremberg in 1946, and explains the legal theory of the trials. Blogger.

American Experience: Roberto Clemente (2008)

Pioneers of Television (2007, PBS) documents the great sitcom artists, starting with Jackie Gleason in 1951 ("The Honeymooners"), who did it all live with Art Carney and developed the idea of a studio audience. Audrey Meadows got the part as his wife because another actress had been blacklisted as a "Communist" by J. Edgar Hoover. The show then covers Lucille Ball, who developed the idea of detailed rehearsals for "I Love Lucy."

By the People (2007, PBS) a new series on citizenship by Jim Lehrer, in several installments, the most recent in the Capitol in Williamsburg after a four day symposium on the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. I will follow this more. Blogger discussion here. (Probably unrelated to the Netflix film, which I have ordered.)  By The People: Democracy in the Wild (2006, PBS / Hyperbaric, dir. Malinda Picke) documents with all live action the poll workers in the Indianapolis (Marion County) election in 2004. It's not clear if this is part of the aforementioned series. Blogger discussion here.

The Jewish Americans (2007, PBS, dir. David Grubin, narr. Liev Schrieber) is three two-hour documentaries tracing the history of the Jewish people in the United States since colonial times ("New Amsterdam"). Jews tried to assimilate publicly (in the South, accepting slavery) while practicing their faith in private synagogue spaces like those in the old world. The Lower East Side became the largest Jewish community in the world.

The Jewish People: A Story of Survival (2007, PBS, dir. Andrew Goldberg) traces history back to Biblical times and focuses particularly on Europe at mid millennium.

Visions of Israel (2007) offers spectacular aerial views of Israel. Last two films on this blogger entry

The Retirement Revolution (2008, PBS / MassMutual, narr. Paula Zahn, 120 min, in 2 parts), blogger.

Caring for your Parents (2008, PBS / Harrah, dir. Michael Kirk, 90 min) followed by panel discussion with Art Ulene, follows five families in Rhode Island caring for severely ill elderly parents. Blogger.

Carrier (2008, PBS) is a ten part series about life on the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier. "Don't ask don't tell" does come up. Blogger.

The Al Qaeda Files (2005, PBS/CBC/"Fifth Estate") is a compilation of 6 Frontline one-hour films from WGBH: "Hunting Bin Laden", "Looking for Answers," The Man Who Knew" (John O'Neill),  "Searching for Al Qaeda" "Chasing the Sleeper Cell" (the Lackawana NY "cell"), "Son of Al Qaeda" (the self-told story of Abdurahman Khadr) "Al Qaeda's New Front". Blogger.

American Experience: George H. W. Bush (210 min, dir. Anthony Hoyt) traces the career of the "father" President Bush, with detailed coverage of Desert Shield and Desert Storm and the first Persian Gulf War.  Only then would the economy tank, when George ("silver spoon" according to Anne Richards") tired (he threw up at a state dinner in Japan in January 1992: I remember that morning) and never got it back. His home in Kennebunkport ME was heavily damaged in The Perfect Storm of 1991.  "Read My Lips: No new taxes!" "Read my lips: Bush lied".

American Experience: Eleanor Roosevelt (140 min) traces the life of Eleanor, wife of FDR. The rumors of a lesbian relationship with Lorena Hickok are not specifically covered, but J Edgar Hoover's suspicions of heterosexual affairs are, in retaliation for her interest in civil rights. After FDR's own affair, their marriage was platonic and professional. Blogger.

The Adirondacks (2008), a documentary covering four seasons in New York State's highest mountain area, the only state preserve in the nation that mixes private and public land this way; a portage canoe race over 90 miles of lakes is covered. The 46-ers "High Peaks" club (all peaks over 4000 feet) is covered.  I remember climbing Algonquin in 1974 and Giant in 1973.

Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trail (2008, 2 hrs) examines the intelligent design trial in Dover, PA. Blogger.

Frontline: Growing Up Online (2008, dir. Rachel Dretzin). Northern New Jersey parents, teachers and kids discuss growing up with the Internet and social networking sites. Blogger.  

Nova: Lord of the Ants (2008) about biologist Edward O. Wilson and his book and theories about sociobiology. Blogger.

Nova: Master of the Killer Ants (2008) about the Jaglavak ants in Cameroon, as the Mofu use them to rid the colony of termites; more discussion of eusocial insects and underground photography of insect wars. Blogger. 

Churchill (2003, PBS, 3 hrs) is a three-part film with Ian McKellen in narration, about the biography of Sir Winston Churchill. Blogger discussion.

Forgetting: A Portrait of Alzheimer's (2004, PBS, dir. Elizabeth Arledge). Blogger.

Turning Point: Stories of Life and Change in the Church (2008, PBS / Covenant Presbyterian Church SF) is about homosexuality and the Presbyterian Church. Blogger:

News War (2007) Several Frontline films: "Secrets, Sources & Spin"; "What's Happening in the News"; "Stories from a Small Planet"; Blogger discussion.

The War of the World (2008) How Russia, Japan and Germany grew into great powers between the World Wars.

Frontline: The Tank Man (2006), dir. Antony Thomas, about the "unknown rebel" (Wang Weilin) who challenged the Chinese tanks at Tiananmen Square in 1989, and helped tip the Chinese government into allowing capitalism. Blogger link.

Independent Lens: Today's Man (2007), dir. Lizzie Gottlieb, who tells the story of her brother with Asperger's syndrome. Blogger link.

Monster of the Milky Way (2008)  A discussion of ordinary black holes, and of the monster black holes that inhabit the centers of galaxies, including our own Milky Way, and the process of galactic cannibalism, that will eventually consume the Milky Way in a merger with Andromeda. That could destroy our own solar system. 

NOVA: Sputnik Declassified (2008, 54 min). In 1957, the Soviet Union launched its Sputnik satellite, and the general impression is that is what started the space race. Actually a year before Werner Vom Braun had launched a Redstone without a payload; we could have beaten them. The Navy's Vanguard was chosen as America's first satellite launch, but it blew up on the launch pad shortly after Sputnik. Then Vom Braun launched the Jupiter, carrying the satellite Explorer on Jan. 31, 1958. This led to all of our GPS and satellite technology today. Eisenhower was mum on his satellite program, but he knew that the Soviets were not as far along as they claimed, although by 1962 they would be with the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Germany had launched 3200 rockets in WWII killing 5000 people. 

POV: Critical Condition (2008, dir. Roger Weisberg, 85 min) follows four inadequately insured, low-wage patients. Some of the film, as with the destruction by diabetes to the feet and legs, is quite graphic. Blogger. 

Frontline: The Choice: 2008, about the McCain-Obama race. Dir. Michael Kirk. Blogger.   

Nova: Parallel World, Parallel Lives (2008). The musician son of physicist Hugh Everett revisits his father's life, and the quantum theory applied to "parallel universes" or the "sliding doors" concept in the movies. 

Nova: Hunting the Hidden Dimension (2008). This examines the mathematics of fractals and their governing effect on nature, or repeated self-similarities of patterns as they miniaturize. The mathematician who described them was Benoit Mandelbrot, who wrote his first book in 1978 and later would write "The Misbehavior of Markets: A Fractal Review of Risk, Ruin & Reward" in 2006 (Basic books).  The film goes on to examine fractals in explaining global warming and also carbon uptake in forests. One of the most famous examples of fractals is the Mandelbrot Set in complex variables, and it looks like a budding retrovirus.

Frontline: The War Briefing (2008) examines the now precarious military situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the tribal areas. Blogger discussion.  

Nature: The Cheetah Orphans (2008) Two British explorers raise two orphaned cheetahs, Toki and Sambu Sambu is killed by a lion, but Toki is raised to adulthood and carefully released into the wild, with harrowing escapes from danger. At one point there is a rabid female. At the end, he faces dangers from poachers. All the time, around humans, to whom he is bonded, he behaves like a house cat, sometimes like a little boy with almost human qualities.  Link. 

Octopus explores cephalapods off the British Columbia coast. Link.

Alien from Earth (2008, NOVA) examines the fossil remains of a miniature people who lived in Indonesia, the floresienis.. Blogger.

Avoiding Armageddon: Our Future, Our Choice”. Disc Two is “Nuclear Nightmare”. Blogger link:

The Rape of Europa (2006, Menemsha Films/ PBS, dir. Richard Berge and Bonni Cohen, 117 min) Nazi plunder of European art. Blogger link.

The Amish: A People of Preservation (2000, PBS / Heritage Films, wr John Hostetler and John Ruth, dir. Burton Buller. A look at the Amish and their communal values. Blogger link.

The Adventists (2009, PBS/Journey Films, dir. Martin Doblemeier, 55 min) Blogger.

The Shakers (1984, PBS/Florentine, dir. Ken Burns, 61 min). Blogger.

The Buddha (2010, PBS, dir. David Grubin)   Blogger

The Old Man and the Storm (2008, PBS / Frontline) The Gettridge family deals with rebuilding in the lower 9th Ward in New Orleans after Katrina. Blogger link.

California: The Big Energy Gamble (2008, PBS/Nova). Blogger. 

Looking for Lincoln (2008, PBS)  with Henry Louis Gates, Jr Blogger.

American Experience: A Class Apart (2009, PBS, dir. Carlos Sandoval and Peter Miller), about Hernandez v. Texas (1954), the case that established that Latinos have 14th Amendment protection. Blogger.

Frontline: The Meth Epidemic (2006, PBS). Blogger.

Forgotten Ellis Island: The Extraordinary Story of America's Immigrant Hospital (2008, PBS/Boston, dir. Lorie Conway, narr. Elliot Gould, 62 min). Blogger.

Jerusalem: Center of the World (2009, PBS, dir. Andrew Goldberg, 115 min). Blogger.

Frontline: Inside the Meltdown (2009).  The collapse of Lehman Brothers and AIG. Blogger.

Journey to Planet Earth (2009). Matt Damon hosts. Episode 1: "State of the Planet's Oceans". Not good--overfishing, and climate change. Blogger.

The 1900 House (1999) Series. Blogger. What a difference a century makes!

Savage Planet (2009) PBS series about natural dangers, including "Deadly Skies".  Blogger.

Heart of Jenin (2009, PBS) film about organ donations from a Palestinian boy killed in Israeli raid to Israeli children. Blogger.

Trumbo (2008, Samuel Goldwyn/PBS American masters), dir. Peter Askin, wr. Christopher Trumbo, about blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo. Blogger.

Darwin’s Darkest Hour (2009, PBS/NatGeo, dir. James Bradshaw). Explores the competition to publish ideas like Darwins, along with Darwin’s family tragedies. Blogger.

Life Is a Banquet: The Rosalind Russell Story (2009, PBS, dir. Jonathan Gruber, 60 min) Blogger.

William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe (2009, ArtHouse/PBS POV, dir. Sarah and Emily Kunstler. Blogger.

God on Trial (2008, PBS, dir. Andy de Emmony).    Blogger.

The Suicide Tourist (2010, PBS, dir. John Zaritsky)  Blogger.

Make No Little Plans: Daniel Burnham and the American City. (2010, PBS, dir. Judith McBrien, narr. Joan Allen). Blogger.

Hubert H. Humphrey: The Art of the Possible (2010, University of Minnesota, 110 min) Blogger.  Humphrey says his generation was almost the last.

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