The Big Burn
Part of the Series: American Experience

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The Big Burn
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By the time he died in 1931, Thomas Edison was one of the most famous men in the world. The holder of more patents than any other inventor in history, Edison had amassed a fortune and achieved glory as the genius behind such revolutionary inventions as sound recording, motion pictures,…
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In the spring of 1869, a thirty-five-year-old, one-armed Civil War veteran and self-taught scientist led an expedition down the Colorado River into the last uncharted territory in the United States. Ninety-nine days later, John Wesley Powell emerged from the Grand Canyon after one of the most daring journeys in American…
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Based on her personal diary, this program presents a dramatic exploration of the life of Martha Ballard, a woman who lived through the economic boom and bust, and political and social turmoil of the decades following the American Revolution.
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In 1957, decades before Steve Jobs dreamed up Apple or Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook, a group of eight brilliant young men defected from the Shockley Semiconductor Company in order to start their own transistor business. Their leader was 29-year-old Robert Noyce, a physicist with a brilliant mind and the affability…
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She was a biologist for the federal government when she first noted the effects of the unregulated use of pesticides and herbicides, especially DDT. Magazines, afraid of losing advertising, refused to publish her articles. When Rachel Carson published Silent Spring in 1963, she was viciously attacked, called "an ignorant and…
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Last Days in Vietnam
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April, 1975. During the chaotic final days of the American involvement in the Vietnam War, as the North Vietnamese Army closed in on Saigon, South Vietnamese resistance crumbled. City after city and village after village fell to the North while the U.S. diplomats and military operatives still in the country…
Remember the Alamo
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In the early 20th century, the average American medicine cabinet was a would-be poisoner's treasure chest, with radioactive radium, thallium, and morphine in everyday products. The pace of industrial innovation increased, but the scientific knowledge to detect and prevent crimes committed with these materials lagged behind until 1918. New York…
Henry Ford
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