Monday, October 08, 2007


I am one of those people who find non-fiction history books to be quite boring, yet when an old boring history teacher practically reads directly from the book, I am enthralled. The same applies for documentaries. In fact, I am a documentary junkie.

In college I used to stay up late into the night watching documentaries on PBS and the History or Science Channels. I remember watching shows on this history of Russia, the musical tradition of Romania and Hungary (extremely fascinating!), Theodore Roosevelt's trek through the Amazon riven basin, a study to determine how much identical twins are alike, spending a week with the nomadic tribes of Mongolia, the life of Abraham Lincoln, and some rare video footage of the British royal family before the outbreak of WWI -- among others.

But after JunkMale and I got married, we did not have TV service anymore. We do get PBS, but the quality is not very good and requires a lot of concentration to catch all that is said. Also, our local library does not loan out dvd's and we have no vhs player. This means that for the last 10 months or so, I have been in a sort of documentary withdrawal.

Much to my delight, I learned this weekend that many documentaries are available online via youtube or google videos. So, having felt the withdrawal for so many months, over this past weekend I watched the following documentaries:

  • Mao's Bloody Revolution - about Mao Tse-tung and the communist revolution in China, obviously :)
  • Excerpts from Eye On the Prize, a Civil Right's era documentary - I watched the sections on the Freedom rides, the integration and riots at Ole Miss, and the Emmett Till murder trial. I could not find the other sections. :-/
  • A lecture on the Byzantine Empire, which was extremely fascinating and enlightening. Most schools do not teach about the Byzantine Empire, even though it was one of the longest-standing western empires in history and profoundly impacted western civilization as it is today.

I started watching a documentary on the life of Ghandi, but about 30 minutes into it I realized that it was 5 hours long -- and I knew I didn't have time to watch the entire thing.

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  • Ewokgirl

    I enjoy documentaries, too. We now have cable, and I happily watched a show the other day about Michaelangelo and how he made the David sculpture and painted the Sistine Chapel. Oh, and another show about the real-life groups written about in The DaVinci Code. Yet another show about Fort Knox was fascinating.

    You're not alone in your enjoyment of history programs. :-)