I stumbled across this docuseries on Netflix a couple of weeks ago, and I am completely enthralled by it.
The series is entertaining, shocking, enlightening and I think something everyone should watch to learn a little bit more about American history.
I liked to consider myself fairly well educated when it comes to American history – I went to a relatively good high school, took AP U.S. History in my junior year, AP U.S. Government my senior year and any other advanced courses on history I could get my hands on. I walked out of high school and into college with the belief I had a fairly good idea about America’s history.
This docuseries certainly drove home the point that our textbooks were all quite selective in what they wanted to teach us, who they wanted to focus on and just how much was omitted.
I think schools in America should include this series when teaching U.S. history. It’s a part of who we are as Americans, and we should know our own history better. I know this docuseries also must leave out a lot, but I think it is a great supplement all the same.
Another point this series drove home for me was the idea that progress is not linear. I think especially as a writer, I’m constantly being told to make progress in stories clear-cut. You shouldn’t have a person turn evil, turn good, evil, good, somewhere in between, evil and then maybe good again. It should be a clearer line of progression or you’ll lose readers to confusion.
Reality, however, is messy. I think stories should reflect that reality better, too. Textbooks should as well. It doesn’t make for a neat summation of our history, but I think it makes it a bit more accurate.