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America 1900

PBS - American Experience

3 Hours



The year 1900 was the dawn of the “American century,” a time of optimism, progress, confidence, and turmoil. America 1900 re-creates the old century’s final year, dramatic days when U.S. troops went to fight in Asia, public debate raged over sex and morality, racial tensions boiled, and dizzying technological change propelled Americans into an uncertain future. 

Marshall, Texas

Bill Moyers visits his hometown. Long-time residents describe the town as being "a Tom Sawyer sort of place" on one hand and a town formerly divided by racial segregation on the other. 

"I'd be surprised if there were a more interesting documentary on public television this season, or one filled with more vivid and compelling human history. 

– American Heritage 

The Arming of the Earth

Journalist Bill Moyers considers how the machine gun, the submarine, and the airplane have revolutionized the conduct of war. Focuses on the way in which advances in the technology of war have vastly increased the civilian toll in wartime. 

"The finest anti-war program we have ever seen." 

– Daily News" 

The Reel World of News 

A look at how newsreels grew into a unique 20th-century institution that informed and entertained whole generations. 

WWII: The Propaganda Battle 

Two motion picture experts -- Frank Capra and Fritz Hippler -- on the war they waged through film. The Imagemakers The growth of mass communication provided a new understanding of ways to manipulate images and influence popular opinion. 

Bill Moyers examines the public-relations campaign designed by Ivy Lee in 1914 to improve the image of John D. Rockefeller. He also talks with Edward Bernays — the man who helped immortalize Thomas Edison and actually coined the term public relations. 

The 30 Second President 

No single force has changed American politics more than television — especially the television commercial. Bill Moyers examines the phenomenon of the “30-second president” and the role of advertising in 20th-century American politics.

George Foster Peabody Award

“The historical documentary has never been better.” 

– San Francisco Chronicle 

“What a year, what a show. …David Grubin’s ‘America 1900’…is dazzling.” 

– Los Angeles Times 

“It’s difficult to imagine any other millennial documentaries being better than ‘America 1900’…a mesmerizing look at the way we were that last time a new century dawned.” 

– San Francisco Bee 

“What Grubin has done…is paint a portrait of America’s contradictory impulses.” 

– Newsday 

“Deeply researched and beautifully edited.” 

– Dallas Morning News

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