American Experience: Season 26 (2014)

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Season 26
American Experience

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Episodes

Air date: Jan 7, 2014

The story of New York City's first medical examiner, Charles Norris (1867-1935), and his chief toxicologist, Alexander Gettler (1883-1968), who pioneered the use of forensic science to explain violent and suspicious deaths. Included: remarks from renowned medical examiners Marcella Fierro and Michael Baden; and author Deborah Blum ("The Poisoner's Handbook"). Oliver Platt narrates.

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Air date: Jan 14, 2014

Recalling 1964, a pivotal year in U.S. history. While the Beatles captured the imaginations of the nation's youth, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, unveiled his vision of a "Great Society" and squared off against Barry Goldwater in the presidential election. Also covered: the murders of three Freedom Summer volunteers; and the influence of Betty Friedan's "The Feminine Mystique." Based in part on Jon Margolis' "The Last Innocent Year: America in 1964."

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Air date: Feb 4, 2014

The Amish practice of shunning those who leave their faith is explored through the experiences of individuals who have left their communities. Also: faithful Amish men and women share the heartbreak they feel when a loved one leaves.

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Air date: Feb 18, 2014

The story of New York's Pennsylvania Station, which opened to the public in 1910. One of the greatest architectural and engineering achievements of its time, it covered nearly eight acres and required the construction of 16 miles of underground tunnels. It closed its doors some 50 years later, giving way to Madison Square Garden, a high-rise office building and sports complex.

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Air date: May 26, 2014

A look at how the nation was transformed by the staggering number of Civil War casualties. At the war's start, some predicted it would be a brief and bloodless affair; by war's end, however, an estimated 750,000 people were dead. Among the experts who share insights into how that toll changed the nation: historian Drew Gilpin Faust (Harvard), whose book "This Republic of Suffering" is the basis for the documentary; Adm. Mike Mullen (USN Ret.); and columnist George Will (Washington Post).

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Air date: Jun 24, 2014

Recalling the summer of 1964 in Mississippi, when student volunteers from around the country joined local activists in an effort to register to vote as many African-Americans as possible. (Due to intimidation and arcane tests, less than seven percent of the state's African-Americans were registered.) Activists also set up schools to teach children about African-American history; and created a rival Democratic Party to challenge the all-white delegation to the 1964 Democratic National Convention.

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Air date: Nov 18, 2014

The 12-day visit to the U.S. by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in 1959 is recalled. During that time, he attended an L.A. luncheon with Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor; saw a planned Disneyland excursion canceled; and met with Eleanor Roosevelt. He also addressed the U.N. General Assembly and toured an American farm. Interviewees include author Peter Carlson ("K Blows Top"), Susan Eisenhower, Sergei Khrushchev and author William Taubman ("Khrushchev: The Man and His Era").

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