The Civil War Today

 
(i)

 

Fascinating daily newspaper of events from 150 years ago.

What parents need to know

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

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.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

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.

Privacy & safety

Minor privacy concerns. Users can post factoids from the app directly to their Facebook or Twitter stream -- as well as emailing them to friends and family. Players can opt in to Apple’s Game Center to track scores and achievements, and for some games, challenge friends. With Game Center, players can send and receive friend requests using an email address or Game Center nickname, revealing the first and last name associated with each party’s Apple ID and, in the case of email requests, the sender’s email address.

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.

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Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

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.

App details

Device:iPad
Price:$2.99
Pricing structure:Paid
Release date:April 18, 2013
Category:Entertainment
Size:30.20 MB
Publisher:A&E Television Networks Mobile
Version:1.2.3
Minimum software requirements:iOS 5.1 or later

This review of The Civil War Today was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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