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The American Civil War

"for any student of American history this is a must"

"quite simply this is seminal viewing"

"a piece of history so enthralling you must buy it"

The American Civil War by Ken Burns

Review

A documentary which was five years in the making and investigates the American Civil War. With over 16,000 archive photographs, lithographs, period paintings and newspaper features as well as battlefield tours.

The most successful public-television miniseries in American history, the 11-hour American Civil War defined what has since become known as the "Ken Burns approach" - voice-over narrators reading letters and documents dramatically and stating the writer's name at their conclusion, fresh live footage of places juxtaposed with still images (photographs, paintings, maps, prints), anecdotal interviews, and romantic musical scores taken from the era he depicts.

The American Civil War uses all of these devices to evoke atmosphere and resurrect an event that many knew only from stale history books. While Burns is a historian, a researcher, and a documentarian, he's above all a gifted storyteller, and it's his narrative powers that give this chronicle its beauty, overwhelming emotion, and devastating horror. Using the words of old letters, eloquently read by a variety of celebrities, the stories of historians like Shelby Foote and rare, stained photos, Burns allows us not only to learn and understand history, but also to feel and experience it.

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