A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Men Who Built America, which uses interviews and reenactments to document the life stories of some of the most successful business leaders in post-Civil War America, contains some violent images, but these are offered within a historical context. Drinking (hard liquor) and cigar smoking is also visible. Kids may not be too interested in the subject matter, but it will appeal to teens interested in business or history.
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What's the story?
THE MEN WHO BUILT AMERICA is a documentary miniseries that tells the stories of the innovators and entrepreneurs who helped build the contemporary American financial and industrial landscape. Each episode tells the life story of men like Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie (Adam Jonas Segaller), J.P. Morgan (Eric Rolland), and Henry Ford, offering details about how they were each able to go from modest means to financial greatness. Actor-portrayed reenactments show how these men took small ideas and made them revolutionary, struck smart business deals, and engaged in underhanded tactics designed to put the competition out of business. Interviews with current business people like Charles Schwab, Carly Fiorina, and Donald Trump, innovators like Ted Turner and Steve Wozniak, and financial experts like Donny Deutsch and Alan Greenspan, offer their insight into the long-term impact the intelligence, ingenuity, and hard work of these early businessmen continue to have on the nation and on themselves.
Is it any good?
The series highlights the key people who pursued post-Civil War financial investments in infrastructures like the transcontinental railroads, oil pipelines, and automobile manufacturing, while finding innovative ways to make them more lucrative. It also underscores the significant role these individuals have had on America's corporate and social world, despite the fact that some of their names have become synonymous with greed and corruption in today's mainstream media.
Despite the fact that women and individuals from diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds are missing from series' conversations, there is still a lot to be learned here. It offers an interesting chance of to gain a basic understanding of how America's current business landscape got its start, and why it is the way it is today. No doubt that history and business buffs will find it a worthy viewing choice.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about significant events in American history that have had led to new inventions and businesses. What lasting impact did these things have on the nation? Is the impact of these things all positive?
Why are most of the featured people white males? Does this reflect the reality of who was in power during these times, or is it an oversight on the part of the producers?
Can girls still be inspired by male role models? How does seeing yourself reflected (or not) in portrayals of powerful people affect your self understanding?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love history
Themes & Topics
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