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The Civil War

  • Ken Burns
  • 7 videos
  • 111,577 views
  • Last updated on Jun 23, 2014
Nearly 20 years ago, on Christmas Day, 1984, I finished reading a book that literally changed my life -- a wonderful, historical novel called The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. It told the story of the most important battle in our nation's history: Gettysburg.
I remember closing that book and telling my father, "Now I know the subject for my next documentary. It's going to be the Civil War."

"What part of the Civil War?" he asked.

"All of it," I answered.

My father just shook his head, and left the room -- like many others I would meet in the early days of the project, convinced that this story was obviously much too big to be captured in one film.

Nearly six years later, when the documentary was finally finished, I realized that we had taken longer to make a film about the Civil War than it took the nation to fight it in the first place.
Nearly 20 years ago, on Christmas Day, 1984, I finished reading a book that literally changed my life -- a wonderful, historical novel called The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. It told the story of the most important battle in our nation's h...
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