Thoughts on Ken Burns’ The Civil War: Dan Davis

200px-Civil_warI know there has been a lot of discussion on this blog and others this week on the re-release of Ken Burns’ The Civil War. I know that the documentary means a lot of things to a lot of people, but I would like to take just a moment and share my thoughts on a more personal level.

I was in the second grade with the series was released and had already exhibited a interest in the Civil War following a family trip to Gettysburg the previous summer. That year in school, my teacher was Mrs. Kolakowski. Her son Chris was kind enough to loan his VHS tapes of the series to me and allow me to take them home to watch on the weekends. Next to the old Classic Images Productions set of documentaries that were shot at the 125th Anniversary re-enactments, it was my introduction to the Civil War through major media.

The Christmas that my parents gave me a DVD player it came accompanied with The Civil War. Needless to say, I had watched all of the episodes by New Year’s Eve.

The Civil War still resonates with me. When I write or conduct research, I always have some type of background noise on. Usually I’ll put on one of my favorite tv shows. Fortunately, I can stream it on Netflix and often pull up an episode and have it playing in the living room while I’m at work. While I obviously have my own critiques of it, I still find the documentary to be incredibly entertaining. But most importantly, it is still one of may vehicles for the general public that makes the conflict interesting and accessible.

2 Responses to Thoughts on Ken Burns’ The Civil War: Dan Davis

  1. The Civil War by Burns presents among other things a well-balanced view of the south. It was with foresight that Ken Burns and Shelby Foote went to that much trouble. 25 years later I believe that aspect will not resonate well with the public. Historians (amateur and otherwise) appreciate it and my mom’s family from the Carolinas and Mississippi et al should have a voice. Burns also touches on the founding fathers’ leaving this question of slavery open-ended which was the true beginning of the war and Foote touches on that point. New Englanders shipping slaves into the country making large amounts of $$ while the rest of the country depended largely on slave labor to produce their textiles. Burns would the nation a service by making part of our history his next docu effort.

  2. I have been watching The Civil War by Ken Burns each evening for three evenings. Ive watched parts of it for years, but its nice to watch it each evening on PBS. The first night I was
    shocked to see the “sloppy” job the Ken Burns series did with the photographs. I had not noticed
    before how much of the series is in the view of the Southerners. I do enjoy their words as they realize they are not going to win the war and their complaining. This 25th Anniversary is supposed
    to be in HD, but Ive noticed little change on our television. The next two nights will be the best.
    I enjoy watching General Lee surrendering to General Grant.

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