Trojan War [1997]

Originally broadcast in 1985, In Search of the Trojan War followed the successful formula established by his first historical detective series, In Search of the Dark Ages, and firmly established Michael Wood as the most personable of TV historians. Wood is not only a born TV presenter, he's got both the academic gravitas and the narrative skill to craft a compelling mystery from the archaeological, literary and mythological sources. Over six hour-long programs, Wood marshals the disparate strands of evidence to present as fully rounded a portrait as possible of both the historical and the legendary city of Troy, its central place in Western culture, and the Mycenaean Age itself. From Schliemann's initial cavalier bulldozing of the mound at Hisarlik, to Homer's epics, the Hittite Empire, and the role of slave women, Wood journeys back and forth across the Aegean and elsewhere, from a pre-unification Berlin to Liverpool, to illuminate the dawn of Western literature, myth, and history. Did the Trojan war ever happen, or was the city destroyed by natural causes? Wood doesn't claim to find a definitive answer, of course, but for the viewer it's rewarding enough simply to accompany him on this fascinating journey. The DVD includes a new 25-minute interview with Wood, who looks back affectionately on the making of the series. --Mark Walker

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