America: The Story of Us

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
America: The Story of Us TV Poster Image
U.S. history gets dramatic in worthy educational series.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 4 reviews

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The series offers extensive but relatively neutral discussions about the events that have made America the country that it is today.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Early American rebels, leaders, and explorers are subtly presented as American heroes. The role of women, Native Americans, and African Americans are briefly included in these discussions.

Violence

Contains lots of dramatically violent scenes of riots, rebellion, and battles. Muskets, guns, rifles, bayonets, bullets, cannons, etc. are frequently shown being used to kill during battles and guerilla attacks. People are also shown being burned at the stake. Bloody wounds and dead corpses are visible. All of this is offered in a historical context.

Sex

Contains some discussion about prostitution as a result of historical events.

Language
Consumerism

Bank of America is a major sponsor of the show; in between show segments commercials that look like part of the series are shown. Valspar paint is also a sponsor.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The role of tobacco production on America’s early economy is discussed. The consumption of alcoholic beverages (rum, ale) is sometimes shown (and/or talked about). Drug use and addiction, as it relates to history, comes up.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this educational series offers visually graphic reenactments of American historical events. People are shown being shot, blown up, stabbed with bayonets, etc. (bloody wounds and dead corpses visible). There are also brief discussions about prostitution, cannibalism, slavery, Native American displacement, disease, starvation, and other strong topics. All these themes are offered within a historical context, but may be a little disturbing to younger and/or sensitive viewers.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 10 year old Written byMrs. Padilla July 25, 2011

Very entertaining history lesson

Very action packed. Our ten year old enjoyed it, and followed the storyline very well. War scenes can be a bit graphic in nature, but are meant to tell the real... Continue reading
Parent Written byPlague May 3, 2010

America: The Story of Us

This is a spectacular show for all Americans. Highly educational and offers great chance to have kids/teenagers learn more about America's history. There a... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old August 27, 2011

parents let your tweens watch it

We watch it in school.Violence: 11+ it is quite violent and at parts shows dead bodies and alot of blood. also the donnor party scenes can be disturbing because... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byellocotron2012 April 25, 2012

What's the story?

AMERICA: THE STORY OF US is a six-part documentary that offers a detailed look at some of the prominent political, economic, and social figures and events that have molded America throughout the past 400 years. Beginning with the Revolutionary War, it uses dramatic reenactments and special effects to illustrate each significant period in America’s history. It also looks at the country’s enthusiasm for exploration and discovery out on the frontier, both out West and in space. The technological innovations that made all these things possible are also discussed. Insight from notable politicians like Rudolf Giuliani, military figures like Colin Powell, business people like Donald Trump, and Hollywood actors like Michael Douglas help explain the significance and consequences of these events, both major and minor, on the overall impact it has had on the formation and evolution of America.

Is it any good?

The docuseries attempts to make itself both informative and entertaining by using creative computer graphics and interviews with notable political, educational, and Hollywood figures to talk about American history. While it succeeds on most fronts, there are times when the special effects seem to make parts of the overall narrative drag on more than it should. Sometimes the presentation of multiple events seems a little scattered, too.

Kids may not be clamoring to see it, but history buffs and educators will most certainly appreciate what the series has to offer. President Obama’s introduction to the series also makes it pretty exciting. Overall, it is an inspired look at what makes the United States the country that it is today. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about American history. What are some of the key events in U.S. history that made America the country that it is today? Are all of these things good things? Are there things that you wish had happened differently? Why? Do you think American history would be told differently if it were told from a specifically female, African-American, or Native American point of view?

TV details

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