Top Picks: Oliver Stone's US history, a three-CD Creedence Clearwater Revival compilation, and more

CeeLo Green celebrates the holidays with a new CD, the History Channel explores the story of humanity, and more top picks.

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    Mankind: The Story of All of Us on the History Channel
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Love at first strum

Guitar player and teacher Julia Crowe explains the genesis of her book, My First Guitar: "Just how does anyone get so passionate about the guitar that they can't imagine a life without it?" Her subjects – jazz, rock, and classical guitar heroes including Andy Summers of The Police; The Byrds' Roger McGuinn; jazzer George Benson; and the reclusive, press-averse guitar legend Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin – 76 string wizards in all­ – describe their first encounters with the instrument that would become their lifelong companion and ticket to fame.

History's margins

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Filmmaker Oliver Stone has never been shy about putting his personal stamp on a project. Showtime's upcoming Untold History of the United States, co-written and narrated by Mr. Stone, is no exception. In partnership with historian Peter Kuznick, the 10-part series takes the important events of the 20th century and expands the narrative to include overlooked players and newly discovered facts from the Kennedy administration and the Vietnam War. Begins Nov.12.

Human footsteps

In Mankind: The Story of All of Us, the History Channel launches an ambitious six-part, 12-hour miniseries, examining the key moments that enabled mankind to survive everything from the Ice Age to modern times. Narrated by Josh Brolin, the series, launching Nov. 13 at 9 p.m., traces the invention of fire, community building, farming, written language, and industry. Future episodes look at the sacking of Rome, the Industrial Age, space exploration, and the human body.

FOGERTY & CO.

If ever pop music was created to sound awesome in a car, it was CCR's. Short, snappy, rocking singles like "Proud Mary," "Down on the Corner," and "Bad Moon Rising" blasted from radios coast to coast in the late 1960s and early '70s. And you know what? Their music holds up and still rocks, big time. The Ultimate Creedence Clearwater Revival is a comprehensive compilation on three CDs.

iconmaker

Inventing David Geffen, a PBS biography of the Los Angeles music mogul, opens with a meditation on the power of the imagination to invent one's life. Mr. Geffen's talent is a testament not only to the rewards of pursuing a big dream, but also the possibility of influencing an entire culture along the way. Geffen launched many baby boomer generation icons such as Laura Nyro; Crosby, Stills and Nash; The Eagles; and Jackson Browne. The profile of a Brooklyn high school graduate-turned-billionaire philanthropist airs Nov. 20.

A GREEN CHRISTMAS

Singer CeeLo Green is a force – with equal parts talent and exuberance. Mr. Green's Magic Moment is his new Christmas album, which captures the big man at his fervent best, spinning out holiday classics in his unique style. Christina Aguilera joins him for a sultry "Baby, It's Cold Outside," and the ageless Rod Stewart and Green romp through the R&B chestnut "Merry Christmas, Baby." The full-bore gospel rave-up "What Christmas Means to Me" showcases Green's range.

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