THE HISTORY BUFF Identifying traits: Often found in his native habitat, the wood-paneled den lined with bookshelves, the history buff possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of the Civil War, World Wars I and II and professes a fondness for tweed jackets with patches at the elbows. Shopping list: There's nothing that amateur and professional historians alike enjoy more than big blocks of research material, and this season brings a plethora of well-packaged, endlessly rewarding, doorstop-heavy box sets. The obvious choice is "The War" (PBS, $129.99), Ken Burns and Lynn Novick's popular PBS docu-series about WWII's impact at home and abroad. Less obvious but still impressive, "Ford at Fox" (Fox, $299.98) rounds up 24 films by the legendary director John Ford, including such classics as "The Grapes of Wrath," "Young Mr. Lincoln," "Drums Along the Mohawk," "The Iron Horse" and "My Darling Clementine." Along the same lines, "Treasures III: Social Issues in American Film" (Image, $89.99) continues the essential work of retrieving buried gems of early cinema from film archives around the country; this set focuses on vintage shorts, docs and features that deal with feminism, integration, racism, crime and labor. Or for those who like their history as seen through the eyes of a kid in a dusty hat, there's "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles: Volume One & Volume Two" (CBS/Paramount, $129.99 ea.), which features every episode of George Lucas' groundbreaking early-'90s TV series. The Lucas team used then-fledgling CGI technology to thrust its boy hero into encounters with famous historical figures, from Pancho Villa to Sigmund Freud, presenting solid scholarship with a heaping side of derring-do. Fedora sold separately.
National Archives / PBS
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