America: The Story of Us

Common Sense Media says

U.S. history gets dramatic in worthy educational series.

Age(i)

2
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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

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

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
Not applicable
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.

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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. 

Families can talk 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

Cast:Barack Obama, Colin Powell, Liev Schreiber
Network:History
Genre:Educational
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD

This review of America: The Story of Us was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall 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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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 16 years old Written byellocotron2012 April 25, 2012
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

it is good

What other families should know
Great messages
Parent of a 10 year old Written byMrs. Padilla July 25, 2011
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

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 realities of war. Very informative documentary overall.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 16 years old Written byluke3854 May 3, 2010
AGE
6
QUALITY
 
This is a historical account of America i dont care how old you are watch this it will give you important stuff the battles are not bloody just people falling down with a smear of red about one time. Kids need to know this stuff and they use the word prostitute on time very fast i didnt know they said it until i looked above
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

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