The American Future: A History

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The American Future: A History
The American Future - A History.jpg
DVD cover
Written bySimon Schama
Directed bySam Hobkinson
Ricardo Pollack
Presented bySimon Schama
Country of originUnited Kingdom
No. of episodes4
Running time60 minutes
Original networkBBC Two
Original release10 October –
31 October 2008

The American Future: A History is a four-part documentary series written and presented by Simon Schama which aired on BBC Two in the UK during October 2008, in the run up to the 2008 US presidential election. The first episode was broadcast on BBC Two at 9:00pm on 10 October 2008, and it was shown over four consecutive Fridays.

The series saw Schama travelling through the United States as he investigated the conflicts from its past in order to understand the country's contemporary political situation.[1] Schama presents and discusses both presidential candidates, Democratic Barack Obama and Republican John McCain from a historical point of view, emphasizing strongly the former. The documentary takes viewer to an epic journey through the history of the modern United States, but it also why Schama personally believed Barack Obama would be the ideal choice as the next president of the United States.

List of episodes[edit]

Episode Date Title Details
Episode 1 10 October 2008 American Plenty A look at America's waning belief in the infinite possibilities of its land and resources.
Episode 2 17 October 2008 American War A look at how different the US attitude to war is from what outsiders assume it to be.
Episode 3 24 October 2008 American Fervour How faith has shaped American political life.
Episode 4 31 October 2008 What is an American? The bitter conflict over immigration in America.

International broadcast[edit]

In the United States and Australia, this programme aired with the re-worked title, The American Future: A History By Simon Schama:

  • US viewers saw all four episodes combined into two parts on BBC America at 8pm ET/PT from 19 January until 20 January 2009.[2]
  • Australian viewers saw these episodes in their original four parts on ABC1 each Thursday at 9:30pm from 27 May until 17 June 2010.[3]


  1. ^ "Challenges for changing America". 9 October 2008. Retrieved 4 November 2008.
  2. ^ "BBC America Brings You, The American Future: A History By Simon Schama". The Futon Critic. Retrieved 27 October 2010.
  3. ^ "ABC1 Programming Airdate: The American Future: A History By Simon Schama (episode one)". ABC Television Publicity. Retrieved 27 October 2010.

External links[edit]