The Civil War

The Civil War (PBS, produced by Ken and Ric Burns,1990) I consider Ken Burns’ nine-episodes on the Civil War his masterpiece. Written by Geoffrey Wad and the Burns brothers and narrated by David McCullough, this captures the entire bloody epic, from the initial ’90-day war’ through the four years of anguish, death, and Lincolnesque fortitude. Shelby Foote is the most distinguished commentary in telling a story that connects the major photos that illustrate this ordeal. 

There was a scholarly symposium in which Civil War authorities sought to criticize aspects of the Burns’ documentary. I doubt that there will ever to agreement amongst scholars on the Civil War saga. I salute Ken Burns for his magnificent accomplishment. I have three copies that I lend to my students. Their overwhelming reaction is shock at the tragedy of over 600,000 Americans being killed and at the graphic portrayal of the killing fields.

    Nine episodes are included on five discs: The Cause (1861); A Very Bloody Affair and Forever Free (1862); Simply Murder and The Universe of Battle (1863); Valley of the Shadow of Death and Most Hallowed Ground (1864); and War Is All Hell and  The Better Angels of Our Nature (1865). Bonus DVD features include interviews with Ken Burns and Shelby Foote.

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