A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Ease of Play
There's a lot to take in, but the app is laid out well and offers multiple ways to access the information.
Violence & Scariness
While the Civil War was brutal -- and there are images (mainly drawings) of people firing guns at each other and brandishing weapons -- there are no gory shots or blood shown.
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Products & Purchases
Links in the app take users to the History.com website and encourage users to donate to a Civil War non-profit foundation. The app is also meant to raise awareness of The History Channel on basic cable.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Many soldiers are seen with pipes in their mouths in pictures.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Civil War Today is one of the most ambitious educational apps to hit the app store. Developed by The History Channel cable network, the site gives a day-by-day accounting of the War Between the States, updating each day with the news headlines citizens would have seen if they were alive during the war. The network plans to continue these daily updates for the next four years -- the length of the war. Beyond news updates, the app offers casualty counts, photos and photo galleries, and a quiz of events. Users can share high scores in the app's North/South quiz via the Game Center social network, but participation is optional.
Is It Any Good?
Leave it to The History Channel to make any other history-oriented app seem paltry. The Civil War Today is a breathtaking undertaking, crammed with fascinating data and presented in such a way that it never overwhelms the user. Daily updates mirror the events of 150 years ago, with newspaper reports and summary information, but the app also underlines the growing tragedy of the war with casualty counts on both sides, letters and diaries from soldiers (again, on both sides), photos, quotes of the day, maps, and an interactive quiz. History buffs will be in heaven, but even students who have a moderate interest in the Civil War will find themselves anxiously awaiting updates every day.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.