Elizabeth McGovern to narrate Civil War documentary series for PBS

Tune in alert for a new series on the Civil War, coming in 2014.

Civil War: the Untold Story is a five-hour documentary series that will break new ground by examining the war through the lens of the Western Campaign. 

The recreated epic battles of Shiloh, Vicksburg, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge and Atlanta wil be shown. Additionally, Civil War: the Untold Story provides new insights into the causes of war, the homefront, the politics of war, the issue of slavery, and the relatively unknown roles African Americans played in the conflict. 

From the press release

Filmed in a “Saving Private Ryan” style, Civil War: the Untold Story used hundreds of reenactors to recreate the battles.  Many scenes were shot on location at Shiloh, Chickamauga, Chattanooga and Kennesaw Mountain Battlefields.  On camera interviews with scholars emphasize that the Western Campaign, while overshadowed by the more famous campaign in the East, is where the Civil War was won – and lost. Among the historians interviewed are:  Allen C. Guelzo, (Fateful Lightning: A New History of the Civil War and Reconstruction), Amy Murrell Taylor (The Divided Family in Civil War America), John Marszalek (Sherman: A Soldier’s Passion for Order) and Steven E. Woodworth (This Great Struggle: America’s Civil War).  2D and 3D graphics convey the strategy and tactics of the battles while also underscoring the geographical relationship between the Western Campaign and the better-known battles in the East. 

The documentary series will be narrated by Elizabeth McGovern, who has been nominated for both an Emmy and a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Lady Cora, Countess of Grantham in PBS' Downton Abbey. Ms. McGovern earned an Academy Award nomination for her role in Ragtime.  She made her film debut in the Oscar-winning film, Ordinary People. Ms. McGovern is also a singer-songwriter and has just recorded her second album with the band she formed and fronts, ‘Sadie & the Hotheads.’

Civil War: the Untold Story will be released for air in first quarter 2014, the 150-year anniversary of the bloodiest year of the war.  American Public Television, a leading distributor of high-quality, top-rated programming to America’s public television stations, has given Great Divide a letter of interest to distribute to 350+ public television stations across the United States.  Nashville Public Television has agreed to be Great Divide’s ‘sponsoring station.’

The series is produced and directed by Chris Wheeler of Great Divide Pictures (greatdividepictures.com).  For more than 20 years, Great Divide has been producing award-winning historical documentaries including: How the West Was Lost, Our Time in Hell: the Korean War, and Godspeed, John Glenn which was narrated by Walter Cronkite.  Additionally, Great Divide has recently produced Visitor Center films for more than 25 National Parks, including Shiloh National Military Park, Chickamauga/Chattanooga National Military Park, and Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park. 



Civil War-The Untold Story Trailer REV 3-22-13 from Great Divide Pictures on Vimeo.

Further Reading on M&C