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Monday, May 31, 2010

America: The Story of Us Part 5

I caught this episode on rerun leading up to the finale episode tonight, May 31, 2010 at 9 PM EST. The episode focus was the “Bust” of the Great Depression and “WWII”.

To be honest, right up front, I didn’t pay all that much attention to the WWII episode. I just have not been that captivated and this episode didn’t do too much for me. I will go into that a little more, further on in the post.

On the other hand, I enjoyed the “Bust” episode a little bit more. They didn’t really talk about the actual stockmarket crash too much. They focused more on the subsequent bank crisis – which may have had more of an impact on the population than the actual crash itself.

From the bust, came projects to try and improve the state of the economy – one of the largest being the Hoover Dam. Now, I don’t really know a lot about the Hoover Dam, but I thought it was done pretty well. I didn’t know that:

• Carbon monoxide poisoning killed many during the construction. Trucks were left running in the tunnels where they were working and people were constantly getting sick.
• The drying of the cement created a lot of heat and would have taken a very long time to fully harden and dry. So, they laid piped within the cement and let water from the Colorado River run through the cement to cool it and harden it faster.

Another great undertaking was Mount Rushmore – designed to attract tourism (I think this has turned out quite well!) I didn’t realize that it was designed to look better as the stone weathered. I think they said that the optimal shape would be 30,000 years from the year it was made (I think!) Either way that was pretty cool. They also covered the Dust Bowl – which was devastating for much of the country. I am planning on doing a post on this at a later date.

Now just for a quick summary of the WWII episode:

• Pearl Harbor
• Impact of the women on the American war economy (first time they really focused on women in this show)
• Manhattan Project and dropping the A-Bomb on Hiroshima & Nagasaki

I know I’m not doing it justice – but I have no idea how accurate this part was. Please voice your opinion. I do have to say that I was slightly disappointed because I’m pretty sure WWI was not mentioned. I would think if you are going to talk about WWII, you might want to mention that there was a first one! I was pleased to see that they did focus on the importance of women during the war effort because they failed to mention anything about women’s suffrage in the previous episode.

Stay tuned for the wrap up post later this week.

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