This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Ken Burn's Civil War: Historians Respond by…

Ken Burn's Civil War: Historians Respond (edition 1996)

by Robert B. Toplin (Editor)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1141158,909 (2.95)1
Title:Ken Burn's Civil War: Historians Respond
Authors:Robert B. Toplin (Editor)
Info:New York, NY, U.S.A.: Oxford University Press, Incorporated, 1996 (1996), Edition: 1St Edition, Hardcover, 223 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Ken Burns's The Civil War: Historians Respond by Robert Brent Toplin



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 1 mention

The Civil War documentary really lit the fire under me to explore the Civil War more fully. This collection of essays by historians examines the impact of the documentary, its failures and successes. ( )
  ksmyth | Oct 23, 2005 |
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert Brent Toplinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Boritt, Gabor S.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burns, KenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Clinton, CatherineContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Foner, EricContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gallagher, Gary W.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Litwack, Leon F.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ward, Geoffrey C.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Woodward, C. VannContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0195115813, Paperback)

Ken Burns's documentary The Civil War made television history, breaking all viewing records for a PBS series. Indeed, forty million people saw it, more than the populations of the Union and the Confederacy combined. Newsweek praised it as "a stunning television documentary." For a generation of Americans, this documentary is the Civil War. Yet many professional historians criticized it sharply for ignoring the roles of minorities, pointing to a lack of women and of blacks throughout, a disregard for the aftermath of the war (particularly its legacy to race relations), a conventional emphasis on military history rather than social history, and uneven coverage of the military campaigns that gave short shrift to the bloody Western front.
Ken Burns's The Civil War brings together detractors, supporters, and Ken Burns himself in a volume that will inspire readers to look again at this stunning documentary, at the way television shows history, and at the Civil War itself. Some contributors are sharply critical. In "Noble Women as Well," Catherine Clinton describes the experiences of women during the war, disguised as soldiers, working as nurses in makeshift hospitals, or besieged in caves by enemy armies, saying that Burns ignores these stories completely. Eric Foner and Leon Litwack are even more scathing, saying that the series distorts the legacy of the war by focusing on the preservation of the union, ignoring the importance the institution of slavery had to those who fought the war, and neglecting the experiences of blacks both during and after the war: out of 28 people whose postwar careers are mentioned, only two blacks, both men, are included. "Faced with the choice between historical illumination or nostalgia, Burns consistently opts for nostalgia," Foner writes.
In response, C. Vann Woodward, who served as an advisor to the series, and Ken Burns himself describe their painstaking efforts to develop a sophisticated interpretation of history in The Civil War. In the process, they explore the question of whether art can, or should, substitute for history. Is the purpose of a documentary such as The Civil War to inform or to entertain? And what happens when the desire to entertain gets in the way of historical accuracy? The answer, according to Woodward, is that the unique power and responsibility of art is to bring the past to life, not to engage in historical polemics. Ken Burns's own response is a defense of his art that is as well-crafted as the series itself. He discusses the unique limitations of television: unlike written history, for example, television documentaries require specific, identifiable visual images, limiting the coverage of subjects with little pictorial documentation. Geoffrey C. Ward, the series writer, defends their choices of interpretation and coverage in the series, and pleads eloquently for greater cooperation between filmmakers and historians. And Burns praises the power of television to move, inform, and educate, pointing to its unique responsibility in an age where Americans receive more and more of their information through television and film.
The Civil War sparked emotions, curiosity, debate, and a desire to learn more about this bloody crossroads in American history. Ken Burns's The Civil War is for anyone who was intrigued and touched by that monumental series, and by the even more monumental war that it illuminated.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:34 -0400)

No library descriptions found.

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (2.95)
1 1
2.5 1
3 6
4 2

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 135,641,306 books! | Top bar: Always visible