Civil War: A Film by Ken Burns

Civil War: A Film by Ken Burns

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Director: Ken Burns

Cast: Ken Burns

     
 

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Ken Burns' epic series begins with the causes of the Civil War in 1861 and ends with the war's aftermath in 1865. A combination of photographs, interviews, and narration create a sweeping historical documentary. Commentary and anecdotes by historian Shelby Foote add another level of authority to the film while providing the viewer insight into distant events and… See more details below

Overview

Ken Burns' epic series begins with the causes of the Civil War in 1861 and ends with the war's aftermath in 1865. A combination of photographs, interviews, and narration create a sweeping historical documentary. Commentary and anecdotes by historian Shelby Foote add another level of authority to the film while providing the viewer insight into distant events and personalities. While Burns covers the major battles and personalities, he also emphasizes the plight of African-Americans and the common soldier. Each of the nine segments concentrates on a particular part of the war, allowing the viewer to isolate episodes of interest. For instance, episode five, The Universe of Battle, follows General Robert E. Lee into Pennsylvania for the devastating battle of Gettysburg. Social events are also given coverage. Each episode opens with a list of events simultaneously taking place around the world, while a more detailed treatment is provided for domestic affairs. Accounts of the draft riots in the North and famine in the South help to place the war within a larger social context. At the end of the nine episodes, Burns' ambitious series has offered a complete account of the causes of the war, the personalities of the generals and politicians who directed it, and the domestic and foreign events that shaped the war's outcome.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Emily Fisher
War may be hell, but it can make for great television, as Ken Burns proves in his masterful 11-hour PBS series chronicling the deadliest war in American military history. The Civil War was a landmark TV event that held record numbers of viewers riveted to their screens and reinvented the documentary form. Taking full advantage of the fact that the Civil War was the first war to be captured extensively on camera, Burns synthesizes evocative archival photographs (among them, Matthew Brady's emblematic images of Union soldiers) with diverse and illuminating narrative voices. Well-known actors read diary entries, letters from the front, official dispatches, and speeches from the era. These voice-over readings convey the full range of human fears and hopes of those shaping and being shaped by the war, while an engaging group of historians (most notably Shelby Foote) provide historical perspective. The result is a seamless collage that illuminates, with quiet nobility, this most painful chapter in our nation's past. It's been said that history belongs to the victors; like Homer before him, Burns demonstrates that a major chunk of it belongs to the best storytellers

Product Details

Release Date:
09/30/1997
UPC:
0794054562132
Rating:
NR
Source:
Pbs Home Video

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