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Buck's Review On the History Network Special GRANT

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  • Buck's Review On the History Network Special GRANT

    So, here is Buck’s review of the History Channel’s GRANT special that was on these past three nights.
    1. Okay, let’s get the criticisms out of the way….Grant’s uniform is wrong. He didn’t wear that turn back style of tunic. In fact after the Wilderness he wore an Enlisted jacket with his LTG Boards sewn on. The headgear for the Western Soldiers are all wrong….very few kepis. Usually broad brim dark civilian hats or Hardee hats with the brim turned down. The weapons are okay….the tactics are not so great. It is annoying to see Soldiers marching in step while on a route march.
    2. They have a good blend of historians and other figures. I am gladdened to see both women and minority historians included, but I would like to see more of the women included in the discussions of the combat operations…it ain’t hard to find them. I find the inclusion of David Petraeus intriguing…more on that later.
    3. Over all I am pleasantly surprised with the outcome. So what….it’s a docudrama, not a documentary!!! It is public history on a commercial network (hard to miss with all the commercials) that has become better known for Alien shows and pawn brokers. And looking at the coming attractions they seem to have learned their lessons….i.e., History is returning to its roots and we may be getting back to better History television. I think back of my visits to battlefields in the late 1980s…I was by myself almost all of the time. After Ken Burns’ Civil War aired we saw an explosion of interest in the history and battlefields got crowded. Only 9/11, the Great Recession and now COVID 19 have had a negative impact. It got folks interested in History. That is a very good thing. And considering the scholarship available today vice 1990 it is a very rich resource environment for the curious.
    4. And that leads me to General Petraeus…he is a GREAT addition to the show. The man was a theater commander and has a unique insight into what Grant faced when he commanded the Western Theater. Petraeus provides tremendous context. Despite his personal proclivities I find his part valuable to a better understanding. And of all the commentators he has the best understanding of the tactical, the operational and the strategic level of war and did a great job explaining that.

    Overall I give it a 3.5 out 4. It’s got a good beat and is easy to dance to….let’s hope this is the first step in a long needed journey for History to return to its glory!
    “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
    Mark Twain

  • #2

    I meant to thank you for this review. I already had Grant on my list to watch, but bumped it to the top after I read your review.

    I can't add anything to your observations on accuracy, but I would say that the way it was done mostly worked for me. The re-enactments were well done & the spread of views was welcome. I agree that having Petraeus commenting was valuable just for the insight into command. I would have loved to have H.R. McMaster putting in his 10c worth too. I really hope someone gets him involved in some sort of MilHistory show one day> I have a suspicion he is a great untapped TV history talent.

    Personally I would have liked a bit more on his Presidency. What there was was good, but it is the part of his legacy that is less well covered & very poorly understood. However, that is a minor quibble. Great TV. Like you, I hope to see more quality history TV.

    Win nervously lose tragically - Reds C C


    • #3
      Thanks Pete.

      Glad you liked it.
      “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
      Mark Twain


      • #4
        It's a great recommend. I've always thought of Grant as an industrial general, ie a great organizer to get there the firstest with the mostest but this mini series really put Grant as a superb tactican - that Grant could real time read the ground and the enemy. I knew that Grant could read the balance of forces real well and that was why he didn't retreat despite initial setups. Yes, his losses were initially higher but he could afford those setbacks while the Confederates could not and that their battle momentum could not be maintained. Grant's tenacity is what I thought gave him the edge but now this mini series also put that he knew how to stiffened Confederate battle momentum.

        Honestly, after this series, I think Grant would have towelled Napolean and Wellington.