Review: Why you should miss the pub for The American Future: A History

October 10, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

The American Future: A History

The American Future: A History, Episode 1- Land of Plenty, BBC 2, Friday 10th October, 9pm Alert Me

“If we succumb to a dream world then we will wake up to a nightmare”. These are the words of president Jimmy Carter, which as I send a quiet prayer of thanks that I didn’t get round to opening that high interest IceSaver bank account, seem to have something of a prophetic rattle.

Simon Schama leads us through this atmospheric, compelling history of America with a loveable pomposity and passion. The first episode, entitled Land of Plenty, takes on how the ecology of that new world. Sounds boring right? It absolutely isn’t. Schama is able to take this dreary stuff of life- water- and turn it into the symbol of optimism, arrogance and endurance that embodies the American spirit. The irrigation of the West becomes a story of grand, foolhardy idealism that is crushed by enormous hardship; the building of the Hoover dam becomes a tale of monumental endurance and resourcefulness.

Interwoven with spine tingling excerpts from speeches by Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan as well as Barack Obama and John McCain, this documentary has the feeling of being incredibly relevant, of telling the story of modern America, even as it takes us back to its beginning.

Beautifully shot with sweeping, cloud filled plains and dramatic sunsets, as well as fascinating stock footage from the last century this is a fantastically interesting documentary that is well worth staying in for.

By McGee Noble