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September 2012
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How The Civil War Changed The Nation's Outlook On Death

Death and the Civil War explores an essential but largely overlooked aspect of the most pivotal event in American history: the transformation of the nation by the death of an estimated 750,000 people – nearly two and a half percent of the population – in four dark and searing years from 1861 to 1865.

“Transpose the percentage of dead that mid-19th-century America faced into our own time – seven million dead, if we had the same percentage,” says author Drew Gilpin Faust, on whose groundbreaking book, This Republic of Suffering, the film is based. “What would we as a nation today be like if we faced the loss of seven million individuals?”

The shattering Civil War death toll transformed hundreds of thousands of individual lives and the life of the nation as well, from its understanding of the rights and responsibilities of citizenship to the profound struggle of a deeply religious culture to reconcile these events with a belief in a benevolent God.

The film examines the increasingly lethal years of the war, focusing primarily on several key battles and their corpse-strewn aftermaths, and concludes with a section on the postwar efforts toward reburial and remembrance.

Death and the Civil War will premiere Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 7 p.m. on tpt 2 in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam – to this day, the single bloodiest day in American history.

Check out a video preview below of the latest American Experience documentary -- Death and the Civil War.


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