The Presidents Collection

I remember watching when Ronald Reagan left the White House for the last time.  He waved and went up into the helicopter and was gone forever.  I don’t remember the election, I don’t remember anything whatsoever about Dukakis.  The other big moments in the life of George Herbert Walker Bush I do remember was the address where he declared we would be invading Kuwait and when Bill Clinton devastated him in his bid for reelection.  Now there is a new chance available for us to take another look at the 41st president.

Starting this August 26th, now available on DVD from PBS Home Video and Paramount Home Entertainment comes the definitive collection of the important and pivotal American presidents of the twentieth century.  American Experience – The Presidents Collection –George H.W. Bush is ready to come into your living room and help explain why the twentieth century turned out the way it did.  Bring home this wonderful historic show today.

This DVD boxed set contains 15 DVDs and ten episodes from American Experience.  The presidents examined are, in chronological order, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, The Kennedys, Lyndon Baines Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush.

George H.W. Bush was born to a senator and into a life of privilege.  He did volunteer to be a torpedo plane pilot in World War II and married Barbara Pierce.  He moved out to Texas and became a millionaire in his own right through the oil business.  Government jobs took up a lot of his time as he was in charge of relations with China, the US ambassador to the UN, the head of the CIA and eventually the vice president as the ultimate insider under Ronald Reagan.  He handily defeated Dukakis for the presidency in a time of great economic upheaval.  The invasion of Kuwait followed a couple of years later and was a resounding success.  Earlier, Bush had also been in charge for the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union.  Yet, even with all this, the poor economy lost him his bid for reelection against Bill Clinton.  This documentary includes interviews with Mikhail Gorbachev, Barbara Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and many others.

The special features included in this documentary are a teacher’s discussion guide to help improve discussion of this film in the classroom and a wide range of bonus videos from throughout the life of George H.W. Bush.

I think my own personal jury is still out when it comes to the legacy of Poppy Bush.  He didn’t win a second term (I’m a one-termer!  I’m a Jimmy Carter!) and the economy was in shambles when he left.  Yet he did show the world that America would still use military power after the Cold War, even if we do use it mainly to protect our own oil interests.  The Cold War ended during his reign and he did work to ensure stability after Germany was reunited and the Soviet Union became Russia again.  But still, he seemed stuck in a quick obsolescence as a Cold War relic once we faced the brave new world of America as the only remaining superpower.  His gently moderate policies were generally successful, but he just ended up at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Experience this great documentary.

This DVD and the rest of the boxed set is available at Amazon.com.

Nathaniel Jonet

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