Thursday, September 28, 2006

Victory at Sea

Every once in awhile here at The Book Den I let you in on a few non-reading pleasures I'm enjoying -- ones which I think you might appreciate also. One of these is the absolutely superb set of documentaries from 1952 called Victory at Sea. This series of 26 programs (1/2 hour each) traces the history of World War II and uses film footage from the war departments of all nations involved. It is incredible and I highly recommend it for adults and children alike. Indeed, Victory at Sea is no doubt one of my earliest influences in a lifelong love of history as I watched it on television in my early childhood and then again viewed the entire series in a 6th grade class. (Thanks, Mr. Kuyrkendall.)

The film is riveting stuff all by itself but backed by excellent writing, an original film score by Richard Rogers and the stirring narration of Leonard Graves, Victory at Sea is a true triumph of visual history. Sobering, dramatic, exciting, compelling -- Victory at Sea is a series you can watch over and over. And having found a DVD edition of the entire series for less than $20, you can bet we will.

Now purchasing your own set of Victory at Sea can also be seen as an important investment in the education of your children, grandchildren and others. Though once a staple part of an American kid's curriculum, it is fast disappearing. The entire Omaha Public Library had only 2 volumes (8 episodes) in the entire system and they were on a couple of well-worn VHS tapes. Sigh. The good stuff is being continually replaced by the dross.

So, why not consider making some of your TV time quality time by purchasing your own set of Victory at Sea? You can find out more about the documentaries at this interesting page and this one too which gives the titles of each episode. And then you can make your order at Crazy Ape. (Or, as Claire did, go through Ebay to Crazy Ape. She got it for about $15 including shipping and handling.)

And one more thing -- after watching the series, you may just be in the market for its monumental musical score. That too was a featured part of Music Appreciation back there in that Green Mountain Elementary 6th grade class. Goodness --1962 it was? Anyhow, the CD is available at such places as Barnes and Noble. Check here.