TV Documentary Review: ‘The First World War’ (2003)

A Certain Point of View, Too

(C) 2014 Entertainment One, Hamilton Film Partnership, Wark Clements & Channel 4 (UK)

In September of 2003, Britain’s Channel 4 TV network began airing The First World War, a 10-part series based on historian Hew Strachan’s eponymous book about the cataclysmic conflict that broke out in the summer of 1914 and ended on the “11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month” in 1918. Produced and narrated by Jonathan Lewis (The Boer War, Stalin), the 500-minutes-long documentary is an engrossing overview of World War I that explodes many of the clichés and myths about the conflict that shaped the 20th Century and whose repercussions echo well into the 21st.

The series’ writing credits include Strachan and various historical figures from whose memoirs and other writings much of the narrative is drawn, including Karen Blixen (Out of Africa)…

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