Over the course of thirteen episodes, Ax Men follows four logging crews through a season in the remote forests of northwest Oregon. Plagued by mechanical failures, relentless weather-including a hurricane that ripped through the area- and violent and unpredictable terrain, these brave men risk their lives retrieving the very timber we depend upon to build our country. Snapped cables, runaway logs and treacherous machinery are among the many dangers that threaten the lives and safety everyday. Anything and everything can go wrong on these sites and the price of even the simplest mistake can mean death.
Most Americans still hold an old-time, nostalgic view of loggers. Images of burly, bearded men as tough as their ax handles donning flannel and venturing into the vast, untamed wilderness of the Pacific Northwest to chop down monolithic evergreens spring to mind. A new History Channel series simply titled Axmen aims to give Americans an up close look at lives lives and work of real northwest logging crews and immediately dispels any Paul Bunyan comparisons.
The show focuses on a handful of logging crews who each tackle a job of varying size and geographic conditions. The History Channel certainly made efforts to give a true uncensored look at how logging crews tackle a job, the camaraderie that exists between the men of a crew and how the difficulty of the job and conditions can create strife between the men. I’m personally not a fan of History Channel series in the vein of Modern Marvels, but I was thoroughly entertained by Axmen. The best way to categorize the show would be to consider it as a reality series with the goal of offering viewers an historical and modern, real-life perspective on a profession that the majority of Americans have little firsthand knowledge of.
In addition to being entertaining and engaging television, Axmen also does an excellent job of educating viewers on the realities and day to day struggles of being a Pacific Northwest logger. It’s a unique view on a profession that is shrouded by the heavy northwest fog of tall tales, and myths that are generally associated with the job. In portraying these men who daily risk life and limb to make a living each day, the History Channel definitely does the logging profession a service by presenting the men and their profession as honorable, and an irreplaceable piece of an industry that helps keep the American economy running. So, hopefully the next time you’re scribbling down your grocery list or printing out a research paper you’ll consider the sacrifice and dedication of the men who risk their lives to bring these products to you.
Review by Noah Brown
Official site: http://www.history.com/minisite.do?content_type=mini_home&mini_id=57876
Buy on Amazon: Ax Men