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AMERICAN EXPERIENCE presents THE PRESIDENTS: 20th century biographies that offer an intimate and compelling look at the men who have defined and re-defined the modern presidency, and who led the country through some of the most turbulent and consequential moments in our history. Focusing on the intersection of public and private, character and history, these presidential biographies have captivated viewers, delighted teachers, impressed critics and won virtually every documentary award worth winning. Most satisfying of all, they have educated a generation of Americans about their leaders and their history, and provoked many American voters to think about what they should expect from the person they elect President of the United States.
JFK | Part 1 - Monday, August 8 at 9pm, Part 2 - Tuesday, August 9 at 9pm
Follow JFK’s rise to power from his birth to his election as president in 1960 — the youngest man ever to be elected to the office. With illuminating interviews from family members including sister Jean Kennedy Smith, niece Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, historian Robert Dallek and author Robert Caro, this episode offers new insight into Kennedy’s early years, from his transformation from a sickly youth to Washington’s most eligible bachelor to the nation’s president.
LBJ | Part 1 & 2 - Wednesday, August 10 at 8pm & 10pm
Sworn in after the assassination of JFK, Lyndon Johnson pushed progressive programs like the Civil Rights Act through Congress and won a term as president before the Vietnam War eroded his support.
Nixon | Thursday, August 11 at 8pm
From ending the Vietnam War and improving relations with China and the Soviet Union, and finally, his resignation in the face of impeachment, Richard Nixon was a tragically insecure man with a bold vision.
Jimmy Carter | Monday, August 15 at 9pm
A peanut farmer who rose to become America's thirty-ninth president, Jimmy Carter was a failure in his single term in office. He turned to humanitarian work as an ex-president.
Reagan | Part 1 - Tuesday, August 16 at 9pm. Part 2 - Wednesday, August 17 at 11pm
In 1988, after two terms in office, Ronald Reagan left the White House one of the most popular presidents of the twentieth century -- and one of the most controversial. A failed actor, Reagan became a passionate ideologue who preached a simple gospel of lower taxes, less government, and anti-communism.
George H.W. Bush | Thursday, August 18 at 8pm
This biography examines the life and career of our 41st president, from his service in World War II to his days in the Oval Office with the fall of the Berlin Wall, race riots in LA and the breakup of the Soviet Union.