DOCUMENTARY From The Millions: "Remembering Ken Burns’s The Civil War: A Documentary of Difficult Ideas," by Darryl Campbell--
Ken Burns’s series The Civil War turns twenty years old this month. A plain old documentary it isn’t; in fact, by the standards of most “historical” documentaries, it lacks a certain testicular fortitude. It boasts neither flashy 3-D maps nor live-action re-enactments; what few live shots there are of battlefields were mostly taken after dusk, giving them a surreal, almost dreamlike quality. Its scoring is simple, its narration restrained. It is, well, rather bookish.
Bookish, but compelling. Campbell's post is a good appreciation. I watched Burns's documentary on PBS when it was first released, then watched it again as I was making my way through Shelby Foote's 3-volume The Civil War: A Narrative.
Both are recommended--Burns's documentary if you have six hours, Foote's book if you have six years. It took me about ten, but I was never in any hurry to finish . . .