Posted by: Ed Darrell | February 1, 2011

Snow day! What a great day to study history!

Seriously.  Stuck at home — with the internet?  Got a television?  (Notice I’m assuming, probably wrongly, that you don’t have a good book on history to read.)

Maryland CCC group in winter

Maryland Forests and Parks Dept. History, "Roosevelt's Tree Army in Maryland": "In the winter, most of the roads were shoveled by the CCC boys. Snow plows did not venture onto the back roads. Camp personnel eventually built a wooden snow plow pulled by a small tractor."

At 2:00 p.m. on KERA 13-2 [February 1], American Experience features a film on the disastrous polar exploration expedition led by Adolphus Greeley:

In 1881, 25 men led by Adolphus Greely set sail from Newfoundland to Lady Franklin Bay in the high Arctic, where they planned to collect a wealth of scientific data from a vast area of the world’s surface that had been described as a “sheer blank.” Three years later, only six survivors returned, with a daunting story of shipwreck, starvation, mutiny and cannibalism. The film reveals how poor planning, personality clashes, questionable decisions and pure bad luck conspired to turn a noble scientific mission into a human tragedy.

If you don’t have a digital television antenna, you can watch the film online.  If you’re watching online, you can choose from several great films from the American Experience archives, several of which are better presentations of material we’ve recently covered in class than our text or other exercises could hope to be:  “Panama Canal” would be a good one to watch, with great explications of U.S. relations with South and Central America, a lot of information on Teddy Roosevelt, and just fun stuff to know; Dinosaur Wars covers a very interesting and under-reported story of the rivalries of scientists who pulled fossils of dinosaurs out of the American west in the 19th century — a great story of science, government, exploration and geography.

American Experience also features several interesting on-line films of material you need to know in the coming six weeks:

Herbert Hoover, the Stock Market Crash, the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal:

World War II

Civil Rights, the rise of America after World War II

What else can you find online?


  1. this was very helpful and interesting

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