Ken Burns: The Civil War (Commemorative Edition)
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Interview with Ken Burns
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Civil War Challenge
Top Customer Reviews
If the words themselves have power, so do the voices. Burns recruited great voices, some actors, some not, to speak the words, distinctive voices that give great resonance to what we see. Julie Harris as Mary Chestnut, Charlie McDowell, a Virginia reporter, as Sam Watkins, Arthur Miller as William Sherman, Jason Robards as Grant, Studs Terkel as Benjamin Butler, Sam Waterston as Lincoln, and many others. He has David McCullough as the narrator. McCullough, an outstanding historian and writer, does a wonderful job. Burns also uses a number of historians to underline key points. Foremost, in my view, is Shelby Foote. Foote is the author of the epic three-volume Civil War. With his Southern accent, common sense and soft irony, he's a fascinating raconteur.
The program is never dry or dull. It is gripping and emotional. Both sides felt they were fighting for a pure cause.Read more ›
Burns used well-known actors to read the diaries and writings of both famous people (Grant, Lee, Lincoln) and average persons and soldiers. It gives one a well-rounded view of both sides. I am in awe of the writings of that time--the people had an incredibly, descriptive way of writing; a command of the English language that has sadly been lost in modern times.
Burns also used still photographs, panning across them, giving the audience the feel of watching an actual movie of the time. That technique has since been adopted by other documentaries.
I've seen the series many times, and each time find something more. If nothing else, see it for Shelby Foot--a writer/historian who speaks about Robert E. Lee, and others, like he personally knew them. Fascinating from beginning to end!
The series is finally released on DVD. While the price is a little high the amazing quality of the series makes the cost very reasonable. Ken Burns' Civil War is required for any Civil War historian's collection. The series is also a great way for those wishing to learn more about the Civil War. I would recommend this to anyone that loves historical documentaries. It does not get any better than The Civil War - A Film by Ken Burns.
The story of the war is told through pictures, narratives, and the unobtrusive narration by David McCoulough, who's voice is pitch pefect for the job. Never before have photos had such a dramatic effect in telling a story. They say a picture says a thousand words, and this series prove that maxim correct. The five discs cover the 5 years of the war, and the 9 parts of teh series. The most effective are "1861: The Cause", "1863: The Universe of Battle", and "1865: The Better Angels of our Nature". They cover the events that led up to the war, the turining points at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, and the end and aftermath of the war. Each is suprememly emotional. One episode intersperses an old narrative from the daughter of a former slave as she remembers her father's stories. Shelby Foote, author of the most comprehensive book on the war, offers invaluable advice. High praise must also go to Sam Waterston, who voices Abraham Lincoln. In the final segment of the 1863 disc, Waterston recites the Gettysburg Address, and I must admit it brought me to tears.
The music is also a key factor to the success of the film. Burns went back and found the old music that was popular among the people and the soldiers, both North & South during the war. It is moving, from the haunting opening music, to the old spirituals that are found on disc 2's "1862: Forever Free".Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Brilliant series! Just being able to listen to author Shelby Foote talk about the Civil War is amazing.Published 3 days ago by Cynthia D. Poillot
The documentary was historically accurate in minute detail. I t was brought to life in an interesting way that has since become the standard for documentary films. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Norman Hairston
This documentary series is beyond awesome. Ken Burns gives viewers a totally new vision of the Civil War through details and more details. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Charles M.
This is what I watch when I can't get to sleep. It is well done, thoughtful, informative, and soporific.Published 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
The most thorough documentary of the horrible tragedy that was our Civil War out there.Published 6 days ago by Lane Moore
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|Ken Burns The Civil War||
Answered by PBS during the recent reair. The new copy has a 6th disc with new interviews with Ken, and supposedly outakes from Shelby's interviews (possibly others). Also some commemorative booklet. The first 5 discs are the same as were released in 2002 and 2004 as well as on tape prior to 2002.
Apr 18, 2011 by Eric Pregosin | See all 2 posts
|What are some good movies for 8th grade American history?||
I don't know about "movies' but many of Ken Burns' documentaries would be ideal for you to use as teaching aides.
Oct 14, 2012 by Eric Pregosin | See all 3 posts
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