The show is made up of 26 half-hour programs; here is a guide to them.
The beginnings of American history, from the Ice Age to the coming of the European explorers.
The wellsprings of values and economies that have collided through the centuries.
Northern merchants, Southern slave society, and English dominion in North America.
How the loyal English citizen became the American rebel.
Figuring out how to run the fledgling nation and facing threats to its existence.
The Louisiana Purchase doubles the size of the country and foments varying visions of empire.
Individual enterprise and technological innovation combine to launch a commercial revolution as radical as our political one.
The inequities of the early Industrial Revolution ignite intense reform movements ranging from abolition to women’s rights.
As the country matures, the inaugural sin of its founding widens a mortal rift.
From “Bleeding Kansas” to John Brown’s raid to the shell bursts over Fort Sumter.
Limited war becomes total, as illustrated by the increasingly ferocious struggle for Vicksburg and the Mississippi, and the conflict leaves a bitter legacy.
In the fatigue and cynicism of the war’s aftermath, its brightest promise remains unfulfilled.
The country throws a great party in Philadelphia to celebrate its technological achievements, but the nation remains divided over many things, including race.
Steel and stockyards embody the mighty engine of industrialism that is propelling the nation toward a new century.
Chicago with its skyscrapers and squalor, its reformers and its millionaires, its rapacity and order, is the lens through which to study a new world in the making.
A nation unto itself, and an embattled one, shown on an immense canvas that includes Indians, feminists, organizing farmers, and the rise of the Populist party.
The wealth generated by the Industrial Revolution pits workers against the forces of capital at the century’s turn.
Two very different Presidents—the Warrior and the Minister—shape the century to come.
Charting the course of a great social movement through the lives of ordinary people.
A restless decade and the emergence of a consumer culture, as seen through the Model T and the rise of modern Los Angeles.
Weathering the worst economic calamity of modern times.
A highly personal look at the global conflict considers the morality of total war and its effects on those who survived it.
The atomic bombs that ended the war cast their glare over the years that followed—the time of the Gl Bill, Levittown, the Cold War, and the rise of rock ’n’ roll.
The civil rights movement, the war in Vietnam, and Watergate mark the trajectory of an era.
The events of the last quarter of the twentieth century reflect the challenges of trying to bring true historical perspective to bear on the recent past.
Storytelling is a timeless human urge, and in the show’s final program, three novelists—Charles Johnson, Arthur Golden, and Esmeralda Santiago—discuss the intersection of history and story.
Area colleges can also offer the series as a course for credit or use it as a classroom resource. Call 800-LEARNER for more information, or visit A Biography of America ’s Web site at