What do you know about the War of 1812? Sure, you remember Laura Secord, our Canadian heroine trudging through the woods to save British troops; Sir Isaac Brock, the "Saviour of Upper Canada" dying in the Battle of Queenston Heights, and Tecumseh, the great native leader killed making a last stand to fight off the invading American army.
On Monday, October 10, you can watch an incredible two-hour PBS film that is action-packed, entertaining but, most importantly, informative. The filmmakers have stripped away the grand legends and colourful myths to reveal the history that we didn't read in school books.
The War of 1812, which was produced by WNED-TV, Buffalo-Toronto and Florentine Films/Hott Productions Inc., airs at 9 p.m. EDT Monday on our Watertown channel WPBS.
What really happened 200 years ago? The documentary strikes a balance of viewpoints in pursuit of the "inconvenient truths" about this war involving the United States, Britain, the Canadian colonies, and North American first nations. We get the straight answers from 26 expert commentators who number 10 Canadians, 10 Americans, three natives and three Britons.
We read and hear the actual words of the generals, native warriors, foot soldiers and even civilians. War re-enactors shoulder muskets and shoot cannons to recreate the battles; actors give voice to the defining moments in the war's two and a half years.
On the PBS website, there are valuable resources for viewing such as the making of the documentary, essays from all perspectives, guides to historic sites and suggested educators lessons. For more information, visit this website.
Email to Kurt Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org