Subscribe: American Experience | PBS
Preview: American Experience | PBS

American Experience | PBS

American Experience, television's most-watched history series, brings to life the incredible characters and epic stories that helped form our nation. Get stories to go in this podcast, or tune in to PBS Monday nights. American Experience is produced by WG

Published: Mon, 03 Nov 2008 15:00:00 EDT

Last Build Date: Mon, 03 Nov 2008 15:00:00 EDT

Copyright: Copyright 2005 American Experience/WGBH Educational Foundation

The Presidents: The Two-Party System and Political Participation | American Experience

Mon, 03 Nov 2008 15:00:00 EDT

Harvard historian Thomas Patterson looks at political participation and America's two-party system in presidential elections.

Media Files:

The Presidents: The Debates | American Experience

Wed, 24 Sep 2008 16:00:00 EDT

George Mason University professor Rick Shenkman looks at presidential debates and their impact upon elections.

Media Files:

The Presidents: The Conventions | American Experience

Thu, 21 Aug 2008 13:00:00 EDT

NPR news analyst Daniel Schorr and American University historian Allan Lichtman discuss the role of the party conventions in 2008.

Media Files:

The Presidents: The Democratic Party and Expanding Opportunity | American Experience

Thu, 24 Jul 2008 12:00:00 EDT

Harvard University sociologist Orlando Patterson places Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign in the context of Democratic Party history.

Media Files:

Riding the Rails | American Experience

Thu, 10 Jul 2008 16:00:00 EDT

At the height of the Great Depression, more than 250,000 teenagers were living on the road in America.

Media Files:

The Presidents: American Conservativism | American Experience

Fri, 27 Jun 2008 10:00:00 EDT

Historian Dan Carter places John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign in the context of the American conservative movement.

Media Files:

The Presidents: The Economy | American Experience

Thu, 29 May 2008 17:00:00 EDT

MIT historian Meg Jacobs examines the impact of economic issues during election years.

Media Files:

Truman | American Experience

Thu, 22 May 2008 17:00:00 EDT

After eighty-two days as Vice-President, Harry Truman became the thirty-third President of the United States.

Media Files:

FDR | American Experience

Thu, 8 May 2008 17:00:00 EDT

In March 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office and gave hope to a nation in crisis.

Media Files:

The Presidents: First Ladies | American Experience

Fri, 2 May 2008 14:00:00 EDT

John Jay College historian Blanche Wiesen Cook looks back at Eleanor Roosevelt and discusses the role of the First Lady.

Media Files:

George H.W. Bush: At Kennebunkport | American Experience

Fri, 2 May 2008 14:00:00 EDT

Filmmakers Austin Hoyt and Callie Taintor Wiser discuss the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine.

Media Files:

Roberto Clemente: Filmmaker Interview | American Experience

Thu, 17 Apr 2008 18:00:00 EDT

Filmmaker Bernardo Ruiz discusses his biography of baseball's first Latino superstar.

Media Files:

Roberto Clemente: Legacy | American Experience

Thu, 17 Apr 2008 18:00:00 EDT

New York Yankees pitcher LaTroy Hawkins discusses the legacy of Roberto Clemente.

Media Files:

Walt Whitman | American Experience

Thu, 10 Apr 2008 16:00:00 EDT

Contemporary writers and poets read excerpts from Walt Whitman's signature work, Leaves of Grass.

Media Files:

The Presidents: Foreign Policy Leadership | American Experience

Fri, 28 Mar 2008 11:00:00 EST

International relations professor Ernest May from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and history professor Kristin Hoganson from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign describe foreign policy, presidential leadership, and elections.

Media Files:

Minik, The Lost Eskimo | American Experience

Thu, 27 Mar 2008 17:40:00 EST

When Arctic explorer Robert Peary returned from Greenland in 1897, he brought with him a seven-year-old boy named Minik.

Media Files:

Ansel Adams: A Documentary Film | American Experience

Fri, 17 Aug 2007 10:20:00 EST

From the day that a 14-year-old Ansel Adams first saw the transcendent beauty of the Yosemite Valley, his life was, in his words, "colored and modulated by the great earth-gesture of the Sierra." Nature and wilderness photographer Michael Frye describes following in Adams' footsteps, working in Yosemite.

Media Files:

The Presidents: Critical Elections | American Experience

Fri, 07 Mar 2008 17:00:00 EST

Georgetown University historian Michael Kazin looks back at the 1968 presidential campaign and discusses the theory of "critical elections."

Media Files:

The Fight | American Experience

Thu, 28 Feb 2008 17:00:00 EST

In the 1930s, Joe Louis crossed boxing's color line to become the most famous and influential black person in America.

Media Files:

Buffalo Bill | American Experience

Fri, 22 Feb 2008 16:00:00 EST

As the American frontier was disappearing, William Cody transformed himself into a master showman named Buffalo Bill.

Media Files:

Kit Carson | American Experience

Fri, 15 Feb 2008 16:10:00 EST

The legendary trapper, scout and soldier was fluent in Spanish and five Indian languages. When the West was a mystery to most Americans, Kit Carson mastered it.

Media Files:

The Presidents: Campaigning and the Primary System | American Experience

Fri, 15 Feb 2008 16:00:00 EST

Boston University historian Bruce Schulman, author of The Seventies: The Great Shift in American Culture, Society, and Politics, looks back at the 1976 presidential campaign and finds parallels to the 2008 campaign.

Media Files:

The Lobotomist | American Experience

Thu, 17 Jan 2008 8:00:00 EST

Walter J. Freeman was an ambitious neurologist that invented a radical surgery to combat mental illness: the transorbital lobotomy. A patient of Doctor Freeman and families of lobotomy recipients describe how the procedure changed their lives.

Media Files:

Oswald's Ghost | American Experience

Tue, 15 Jan 2008 8:45:00 EST

The assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas on November 22, 1963 left a psychic wound on America that is with us still today. Filmmaker Robert Stone discusses his deconstruction of the assassination and how this single event forever changed the face of American culture.

Media Files:

Grand Central Preview | American Experience

Thu, 15 Nov 2007 4:45:00 EST

Executive producer Mark Samels and filmmaker Michael Epstein discuss an upcoming American Experience film on New York's Grand Central Station.

Media Files:

Daughter from Danang | American Experience

Fri, 2 Nov 2007 3:45:00 EST

In 1975, the U.S. sponsored Operation Babylift, evacuating war orphans from Vietnam. Author Aimee Phan talks about the AMERICAN EXPERIENCE program DAUGHTER FROM DANANG, which tells the story of a Babylift evacuee's troubled reunion with her Vietnamese birth mother.

Media Files:

The Black Lions Remember Vietnam | American Experience

Thu, 18 Oct 2007 2:25:00 EST

Meet the men of the Black Lions battalion. Forty years ago, they walked into a Viet Cong ambush.

Media Files:

The Space Race | American Experience

Thu, 04 Oct 2007 3:45:00 EST

On October 4, 1957 the Soviet Union launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik. Roger Launius, curator at the National Air and Space Museum, describes Sputnik's impact on the Space Race.

Media Files:

World War II Memories | American Experience

Thu, 20 Sep 2007 11:10:00 EST

World War II veterans describe the brutal conditions and deadly combat faced on the battlefronts of Europe and the Pacific.

Media Files:

Chicago: City of the Century | American Experience

Thu, 30 Aug 2007 10:35:00 EST

In the mid nineteenth century Chicago emerged as an industrial metropolis, fueled by a diverse work force. Historian Dominic Pacyga describes Chicago's prominence in the national labor movement and its reaction to the Labor Day holiday. Their organized efforts were emblematic of a growing national labor movement that was marked by century's end with a new national holiday: Labor Day.

Media Files:

Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life | American Experience

Thu, 2 Aug 2007 22:00:00 EST

Former Commissioner of Major League Baseball Fay Vincent talks about one of the greatest sports heroes ever. Joe DiMaggio joined the New York Yankees in 1936 and quickly rose to become the star of baseball's golden age.

Media Files:

Summer of Love | American Experience

Thu, 21 Jun 2007 18:00:00 EST

In the summer of 1967, thousands of young people from across the country flocked to San Francisco's Haight Ashbury district to join in the hippie experience, only to discover that what they had come for was already disappearing.

Media Files:

Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple | American Experience

Thu, 5 Apr 2007 17:00:00 EST

In tape recordings from the 1970s, Jim Jones describes his church, the Peoples Temple.

Media Files:

New Orleans | American Experience

Thu, 8 Feb 2007 18:30:00 EST

Filmmaker Stephen Ives details the challenges of making a documentary about New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Media Files:

The Living Weapon | American Experience

Mon, 29 Jan 2007 10:30:00 EST

In early 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt received an alarming intelligence report: Germany and Japan were developing biological weapons for potential offensive use. In response, the U.S. and its allies rushed to develop their own germ warfare program.

Media Files:

The Berlin Airlift | American Experience

Thu, 18 Jan 2007 17:30:00 EST

A veteran pilot describes his experiences during the first battle of the Cold War and the largest humanitarian campaign the world had ever seen.

Media Files:

The Gold Rush | American Experience

Thu, 2 Nov 2006 16:30:00 EST

Filmmaker Randall MacLowry brings to life the story of The Gold Rush in this American Experience film.

Media Files:

The Great Fever | American Experience

Thu, 26 Oct 2006 15:30:00 EST

Three physicians discuss the past and future of yellow fever, a disease that terrorized the United States for more than two hundred years, killing an estimated 100,000 in the nineteenth century alone.

Media Files:

Eyes on the Prize | American Experience

Fri, 29 Sep 2006 15:30:00 EST

Produced by Blackside, Eyes on the Prize tells the definitive story of the civil rights era from the point of view of the ordinary men and women whose extraordinary actions launched a movement that changed the fabric of American life.

Media Files:

The Center Of The World: New York: A Documentary Film | American Experience

Fri, 8 Sep 2006 18:00:00 EST

Carol Willis, the director of New York's Skyscraper Museum, reflects on the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, and plans for Ground Zero.

Media Files:

A preview of New Orleans | American Experience

Thu, 31 Aug 2006 16:00:00 EST

Filmmaker Stephen Ives spent a year making a PBS documentary on the history of a unique American city New Orleans.

Media Files:

Hoover Dam | American Experience

Thu, 17 Aug 2006 18:00:00 EST

Rising more than 700 feet above the raging waters of the Colorado River, it was called one of the greatest engineering works in history.

Media Files:

Mount Rushmore | American Experience

Wed, 2 Aug 2006 19:30:00 EST

Meet the daring workers and the temperamental artist who created the world's largest piece of sculpture, Mount Rushmore.

Media Files:

Coney Island | American Experience

Fri, 28 Jul 2006 16:30:00 EST

At the turn of the 20th century, a tiny spit of land at the foot of Brooklyn had become the most extravagant playground in America.

Media Files:

Fourth of July 1826 | American Experience

Thu, 29 Jun 2006 12:00:00 EST

Historians David McCullough and Joseph Ellis discuss the amazing circumstances surrounding the deaths of former presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams on July 4th, 1826.

Media Files:

Behind the Scenes: Season 18 viewer mail | American Experience

Thu, 8 Jun 2006 18:00:00 EST

American Experience executive producer Mark Samels discusses viewer emails about two of the past season's most popular programs.

Media Files:

Behind the Scenes: The Man Behind Hitler | American Experience

Thu, 18 May 2006 14:00:00 EST

American Experience executive producer Mark Samels and German filmmaker Michael Kloft discuss "The Man Behind Hitler," a new documentary based on the 7,000-page diary kept by Nazi Joseph Goebbels.

Media Files:

Golden Gate Bridge | American Experience

Thu, 11 May 2006 15:00:00 EST

Workers and historians describe the construction of the world's longest suspension bridge above the dangerously churning waters at the entrance to San Francisco Bay.

Media Files:

Annie Oakley | American Experience

Thu, 4 May 2006 21:00:00 EST

Annie Oakley thrilled audiences around the world with her daring shooting, a sport that was traditionally a male domain.

Media Files:

Remember the Alamo | American Experience

Mon, 1 May 2006 16:00:00 EST

A conflict in Texas pitted brother against brother and devastated the community.

Media Files:

The Alaska Pipeline | American Experience

Thu, 20 Apr 2006 17:00:00 EST

In the late 1960s, Native Alaskans sought a land claims settlement from Congress before work began on the Alaska Pipeline.

Media Files:

The Great San Francisco Earthquake | American Experience

Fri, 14 Apr 2006 4:40:00 EST

The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 remains a point of reference for earthquake science and building safety even today.

Media Files:

The Boy in the Bubble | American Experience

Thu, 6 Apr 2006 19:00:00 EST

Carol Anne Vetter Demaret, the mother of a boy born with severe immunodeficiency who was placed in a protective bubble, talks about the events leading up to her son David's birth.

Media Files:

Eugene O'Neill | American Experience

Thu, 23 Mar 2006 17:00:00 EST

Actor Christopher Plummer brings Eugene O'Neill's words to life in a new documentary on O'Neill, America's greatest playwright.

Media Files:

Murder of the Century | American Experience

Thu, 16 Mar 2006 18:00:00 EST

In 1906 Harry Thaw murdered Stanford White over the beautiful showgirl Evelyn Nesbit. The gripping New York society scandal was reported "to the ends of the civilized globe."

Media Files:

A preview of American Experience's spring programs on PBS | American Experience

Thu, 09 Mar 2006 14:00:00 EST

Executive producer Mark Samels previews two new programs coming to American Experience this spring, Monday nights at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings).

Media Files:

Hijacked | American Experience

Thu, 23 Feb 2006 14:00:00 EST

September 6, 1970 gave birth to a new era of terrorism.

Media Files:

Reconstruction: The Second Civil War: Plantations in Ruins | American Experience

Fri, 17 Feb 2006 18:00:00 EST

After the Civil War, North and South had to reconcile. And four million former slaves had to be brought into the life of the nation. Kate Stone of Louisiana and Fan Butler of Georgia were two young women who found their family plantations in ruins.

Media Files:

Reconstruction: The Second Civil War: Civil Rights | American Experience

Thu, 09 Feb 2006 17:00:00 EST

After the Civil War, North and South had to reconcile. And four million former slaves had to be brought into the life of the nation. John Roy Lynch, a former slave from Mississippi, was elected to Congress, where he challenged whites' deepest beliefs about race and class.

Media Files:

Jesse James | American Experience

Thu, 02 Feb 2006 17:00:00 EST

A Confederate partisan of expansive ambition, unbending politics and surprising cunning, Jesse James helped invent his own legend.

Media Files:

The Nuremberg Trials | American Experience

Wed, 25 Jan 2006 17:00:00 EST

At the end of World War II, the Allied victors tried Nazi war criminals for crimes against humanity. The trials set historic precedents for international law.

Media Files:

John and Abigail Adams | American Experience

Wed, 18 Jan 2006 13:00:00 EST

The letters of John and Abigail Adams provide us with an intimate account of the early days of the Republic. They also tell the story of a great American political and romantic partnership.

Media Files:

Eleanor Roosevelt | American Experience

Wed, 11 Jan 2006 12:00:00 EST

In July 1940 Eleanor Roosevelt makes a compelling speech and unites the party at the Democratic National Convention.

Media Files:

Reagan: Summit at Reykjavik | American Experience

Wed, 28 Dec 2005 16:00:00 EST

In October 1986 President Ronald Reagan met Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev for a summit at Reykjavik. While no agreement was made, the summit was a historical breakthrough.

Media Files:

Reagan: From Acting to Politics | American Experience

Thu, 22 Dec 2005 17:00:00 EST

In 1966, when Ronald Reagan ran for governor of California, his opponent derided his lack of experience and Hollywood background.

Media Files:

Behind the Scenes: Presidential Biographies | American Experience

Fri, 16 Dec 2005 16:30:00 EST

American Experience executive producer Mark Samels and documentary filmmakers Elizabeth Deane and David Grubin discuss two of their presidential biographies, "John & Abigail Adams" and "LBJ."

Media Files:

Patriots Day | American Experience

Wed, 14 Dec 2005 18:30:00 EST

Every year the historic events of April 19, 1775 are reenacted by a committed band of historical actors.

Media Files:

The Fight: Behind the Scenes: Authors and Filmmakers | American Experience

Wed, 07 Dec 2005 17:30:00 EST

Book author David Margolick and documentary producer Barak Goodman discuss the process of working together on the same story.

Media Files:

Tupperware! | American Experience

Wed, 30 Nov 2005 17:30:00 EST

Bite-sized nuggets of positive thinking from two post-war success stories: Earl Tupper, inventor of Tupperware, and Brownie Wise, home party sales genius.

Media Files:

Influenza 1918 | American Experience

Fri, 18 Nov 2005 14:30:00 EST

A deadly flu invades North America -- killing over 600,000 people in the worst epidemic in American history.

Media Files:

Behind the Scenes: City Biographies | American Experience

Tue, 15 Nov 2005 17:00:00 EST

American Experience executive producer Mark Samels and documentary filmmakers Stephen Ives and Austin Hoyt discuss their work on city biographies of Las Vegas and Chicago.

Media Files:

Las Vegas: An Unconventional History: The Color Line | American Experience

Fri, 11 Nov 2005 15:00:00 EST

In the 1960s, Las Vegas was a segregated city. But the color line was about to turn green: the color of money.

Media Files:

Las Vegas: An Unconventional History: Atomic City, U.S.A. | American Experience

Tue, 08 Nov 2005 14:00:00 EST

During the cold war, Las Vegas used nearby nuclear testing grounds as a tourist attraction.

Media Files:

Victory in the Pacific | American Experience

Thu, 03 Nov 2005 18:30:00 EST

In early 1945 Japan knows it cannot win World War II, but it will not surrender. The U.S. launches a major bombing campaign.

Media Files:

Race To The Moon | American Experience

Thu, 27 Oct 2005 17:00:00 EST

Apollo 8 was the first manned flight to the moon. The crew made many important visual observations, including mankind's first glance at the moon.

Media Files:

Kinsey | American Experience

Mon, 24 Oct 2005 16:00:00 EST

An Indiana University biology professor was an unlikely "revolutionary" in the field of human sexuality.

Media Files:

Viewer response to Two Days in October | American Experience

Wed, 19 Oct 2005 13:00:00 EST

Executive producer Mark Samels and filmmaker Robert Kenner discuss viewer emails regarding Two Days in October.

Media Files:

Two Days in October: Vietnam | American Experience

Fri, 14 Oct 2005 20:00:00 EST

The famed Black Lions of the Army's First Infantry Division are ambushed in the jungles of Vietnam.

Media Files:

Two Days in October: America | American Experience

Wed, 12 Oct 2005 16:00:00 EST

A peaceful student protest on the campus of the University of Wisconsin at Madison descends into violence and brutality when town police are brought to intervene.

Media Files:

A preview of American Experience's fall TV season on PBS | American Experience

Wed, 05 Oct 2005 14:00:00 EST

Executive producer Mark Samels previews the upcoming season of American Experience on PBS.

Media Files:

The Carter Family: Will The Circle Be Unbroken | American Experience

Tue, 27 Sep 2005 14:00:00 EST

The story and music of the Carter Family: Sara, her husband A. P., and sister-in-law Maybelle.

Media Files:

Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst | American Experience

Wed, 21 Sep 2005 08:00:00 EST

The bizarre saga of heiress, kidnap victim, and sometime urban guerrilla Patricia Hearst.

Media Files:

Fatal Flood | American Experience

Wed, 14 Sep 2005 08:00:00 EST

A story of greed, power, and race during a terrible natural disaster.

Media Files: