American Experience: Lee and Grant - Generals of the Civil War [2 Discs] [DVD]

This film from the documentary series The American Experience takes an in-depth look at the lives and careers of Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee, the two opposing generals who led the Northern and Southern forces respectively, in the American Civil War.
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Overview

Special Features

  • "Who's In Grant's Tomb?"
  • Interview with the Producers
  • Closed Captioned

Synopsis

American Experience: Robert E. Lee
Few figures in U.S. military history are as divisive as General Robert E. Lee (1807-70). Adored by some for his heroic leadership of the Confederacy during the Civil War - to such a degree that countless statues still commemorate him in the American South - and resented or loathed by others for the southern cause that he promulgated, Lee continues to court endless fascination. This episode of PBS's American Experience documentary series explores Lee's life, accomplishments and reputation, with a particularly strong emphasis on his string of military victories and the idolization surrounding Lee in the 140 years that followed his death. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi

American Experience: Ulysses S. Grant, Part 1 - The Warrior
Ulysses S. Grant was born the son of a tanner and little distinguished him as a young man. He attended West Point at his father's insistent, but felt ill suited for demands of military life. When the Mexican-American War erupted in 1846, Grant served beside many officers who later fought for the Confederacy. He was transferred to the far West after the war, but quit the army in 1854 to reunite with his family. He farmed land for a short time, worked as a clerk for his father, and invested in a number of schemes; he made little money, however, and his business ventures failed. When the Civil War began in 1861, trained officers were needed. Grant received a brigadier general's commission and although he distinguished himself quickly, enormous casualties, first at Shiloh and later at Cold Harbor, made him controversial. President Lincoln nonetheless chose Grant to head the Union Army in 1864, bestowing upon him the rank of lieutenant general, the first to receive the title since George Washington. Ulysses S. Grant includes interviews with prominent historians and film footage of Civil War battlefields. Part 1 ends with Lincoln's assassination on April 14, 1865. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., Rovi

American Experience: Ulysses S. Grant, Part 2 - The President
Following the Civil War, Grant considered returning to civilian life. Racial violence in the South, however, along with President Andrew Johnson's ineffectual leadership, led the ex-soldier into politics. Beginning in March 1869, Grant would serve two presidential terms. Although he attempted to focus his administration on Reconstruction, Westward expansion, a Depression in the 1870s, and corruption within his own administration sidetracked his plans. When Grant left the White House in March 1877, it was under a cloud of suspicion. In May of the same year, he and his wife left for England, beginning a two-and-a-half-year trip that would take them around the world. Grant entered business with his son and investor Ferdinand Ward upon his return. Although a great deal of money was earned in the beginning of their venture, Ward's unsavory dealings, of which the Grants knew nothing, led to bankruptcy. After Grant discovered he was ill with throat cancer, he decided to write his memoirs as a way of providing for his family once he was gone. While director Adriana Bosch doesn't shy away from Grant's faults, she does offer a positive portrayal of his presidency. Ulysses S. Grant also includes interviews with historians and biographers. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Michael Murphy
    Michael Murphy - Narrator
  • Chris Sarandon
    Chris Sarandon - Robert E. Lee
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