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The Roosevelts: An Intimate History

406 customer reviews

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Product Description

The Roosevelts: An Intimate History chronicles the lives of Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt, three members of the most prominent and influential family in American politics. It is the first time in a major documentary television series that their individual stories have been interwoven into a single narrative. This seven-part, 14 hour film follows the Roosevelts for more than a century, from Theodore s birth in 1858 to Eleanor s death in 1962. Over the course of those years, Theodore would become the 26th President of the United States and his beloved niece, Eleanor, would marry his fifth cousin, Franklin, who became the 32nd President of the United States. Together, these three individuals not only redefined the relationship Americans had with their government and with each other, but also redefined the role of the United States within the wider world. The series encompasses the history the Roosevelts helped to shape: the creation of National Parks, the digging of the Panama Canal, the passage of innovative New Deal programs, the defeat of Hitler, and the postwar struggles for civil rights at home and human rights abroad. It is also an intimate human story about love, betrayal, family loyalty, personal courage, and the conquest of fear.


...[Ken Burns s] most ambitious and deeply moving documentary since The Civil War. --The New York Times

...a stunning reminder of why Ken Burns, having revolutionized the documentary series, continues to be the best in the business. --Los Angeles Times

Masterful study of an American dynasty. --USA Today

4 out of 4 stars
"Burns is not engaged here in hagiography he fully addresses various maladies afflicting the trio, such as depression but their triumphs over illness, missteps, and self-doubts only end up making their achievements all the more towering...Highly recommended." --Video Librarian

Masterful study of an American dynasty. --USA Today

Product Details

  • Actors: Meryl Streep (voice of Eleanor), Paul Giamatti (voice of Theodore), Edward Herrmann (voice of Franklin)
  • Directors: Ken Burns
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 7
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: September 16, 2014
  • Run Time: 840 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (406 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #769 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

155 of 161 people found the following review helpful By L. M. Keefer TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 14, 2014
Format: DVD
If you are a fan of the Roosevelt family, American History, or Ken Burns, you will delight in this content-rich and picture-rich intimate history of the three most well-known and well-loved Roosevelts: Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor. Interestingly, Ken Burns, the filmmaker of this documentary, is a distant relative of the Roosevelts. This seven-part, and 14-hour, documentary spans mostly a century from Theodore's birth in 1858 to Eleanor's death in 1962.

First, however, you travel back in time to when the first Roosevelt, a Dutch immigrant, journeyed to Manhattan Island (New Amsterdam), and then you see glimpses of the Roosevelt ancestors in the 1800's as prosperous, successful and respected businessmen with their families. Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor all had diverse childhoods, but you see how the family characteristics unite them: courage, ethics, and a desire to help those who weren't born a Roosevelt, or to families with means. Theodore, or Teddy, was Eleanor's uncle and, while President, gave her away in marriage to Franklin after leading the St. Patricks Day parade in New York City in 1905. Franklin, a 5th cousin of Teddy's, was inspired by Teddy's example to aim for a life in politics and the White House. Eleanor and Franklin both attended Teddy's inauguration as President. Both men occupied the White House 19 of the first 45 years of the 20th century, and shaped the nature of the presidency.

The events of their lives, the spaces and homes which surrounded them, and the people close to them come alive in photos, in thoughts taken from their letters, and in quotes of others about them. You may be amazed to see photos of New York City in the late 1800's when there was still land on which to build large homes or the Natural History Museum.
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67 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Janet Chandler on September 18, 2014
Format: DVD
Ken Burns is at his spellbinding best again. Burns has definitely become our best director of historical documentaries. His works on the Civil War and baseball are probably his most well known work but there have been numerous others including his telling about the second world war, the Lewis and Clark expedition, the building of the Brooklyn Bridge and ..... Well I could go on and on but you get the point.

Now we are blessed with his latest contribution to American history "The Roosevelts: An Intimate History". This is an amazing look at one of the most important families of the 20th century. If the Kennedys dominated politics and Americans interests in their lives in the second half of the 20th century then the Roosevelts dominated Americans interests and politics in the first half of that same century. The documentary looks specifically at the lives of Teddy, Franklin and Eleanor. It covers their lives from birth to death and all the fascinating thing that would take place in their lives in between. It tells of their high and low points of their lives and doesn't pull any punches showing their faults and weaknesses as well as their successes. I could go into some detail what has been covered in their lives by Burns but you need to watch the series yourself and be surprised as I was in some of the things you will learn about the lives of these three important individuals. I am a bit of a history nerd and thought I knew a lot about all three of the Roosevelts. But the coverage here going into so many details that span from 1858 when Teddy was born to 1962 when Eleanor died is amazing. While indeed there was so much I did know about the three what I am learning while watching these programs shows just how little I really knew. Make no mistake.
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Hank Drake VINE VOICE on September 23, 2014
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
There have been so many documentaries on the three Roosevelts - Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor - that when Ken Burns' documentary was announced I wondered what more could be said. Well, there's plenty to see in this sprawling 14 hour work, including many previously unseen photographs and moving pictures. A thread of tragedy runs through the saga.

After a brief recounting of the first Roosevelts in America (Nicholas Roosevelt, the last common ancestor to the three "great" Roosevelts, died in 1742) the story picks up in 1858 with the birth of young Theodore. Teddy, of the Oyster Bay Roosevelts, was an asthmatic, sickly boy who willed himself into vigorous action - both physical and mental. He also was susceptible to depression, and tried to conquer despair by outrunning it. But negative feelings catch up with one, and there was a streak of rage that ran through the man, sometimes resulting in explosions of temper - as when he shot a dog that barked at him. In the course of one day when Theodore was 25, his daughter Alice was born, and his wife and mother both died. Theodore left the daughter in the care of his sister and fled to the west to conquer his grief. When "rancher Ted" returned it was a quick rise up the political ladder until he became President after William McKinley was assassinated. As President, TR was at his best when he was able to channel his zeal into constructive action, like reforming the food industry, busting trusts, and preserving America's natural heritage. But in many ways he was, to coin a phrase, a "bully"- who thought nothing of invading other nations, and betraying William Howard Taft (who did more the continue his predecessor's policies than he's given credit for).
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CAn't wait for this! Will the Blu-Ray version have a DVD version that...
Looking at Amazon's page and watching the PBS special preview of the 14 hour long The Roosevelt's ,Amazon has it wrong for the DVD disc quantity of #1 it should be #7 ,according to the PBS show.
Aug 18, 2014 by Dan |  See all 4 posts
I'm wondering how much modern medicine could have extended FDRs health...
If only he had not smoked!
Jun 28, 2015 by Bunnybrowse |  See all 2 posts
a Single DVD disc for $66.89???
PBS's website says that the DVD set has 7 disks. I assume this is an error on Amazon.
Sep 9, 2014 by D. Kristofferson |  See all 4 posts
The Roosevelt's - number of disks
Seven discs two hours each, fourteen hour miniseries, narrated by Peter Coyote, with commentary by Doris Kearns Goodwin Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, [[ASIN:1416547878 The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of... Read More
Sep 21, 2014 by Sakuteiki |  See all 2 posts
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