Watching the Civil War

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  1. Love love love it! Have you ever seen his doc on the West? It’s just hours and hours of dead Native Americans and Mormons. You would think that the whole Western United States was now some sort of post-apocalyptic waste land.

  2. “But you’re sure it is a spoof?”

    Hmmm Hank, now that you mention it? 🙂

    “You would think that the whole Western United States was now some sort of post-apocalyptic waste land.”

    Ha! Ken Burns lucked out on the Civil War due to the intrinsic interest of the subject matter and the ever watchable Shelby Foote. Most of that still was fairly pretentious bloat and could easily have been cut in half with not a second of substance lost. I have never been able to last through any of his other documentaries, including The War on World War 2 which, at 14 hours, achieved the considerable feat of making World War II seem dull to military history loving me!

  3. Hey! Are you Big Brother????

    I just sat through 3 hours of the Civil War last night. Peeping Tom????
    This has to be more than a coincidence. I’m pulling my curtains tonight.

  4. Oh, btw, my spouse just watched this spoof. It just ruined it for us. Now what are we going to do for the next 8 hours?????

  5. Yeah, the Shelby Foote guy is awesome.

    I’m going to have to re-watch The Civil War one of these days. I haven’t seen it since high school, but I watched it as it came out and re-watched it a couple times thereafter, much enjoying it. I haven’t seen any of Burns’ other documentaries, though.

    Of course, I’m the one who’s always complaining that modern documentaries are too fluffy and fast paced — modern episodes of Nova seem too gimmicky, and virtually anything the History Channel does drives me up the wall. So maybe I’m just attached to dullness. I have fond memories of some of the older BBC documentary series as well: Kenneth Clarke’s Civilization certainly managed what could at best be called a stately pace (though re-watching it more recently with the kids I was more struck by his anti-Christian attitudes than I had been as a kid) and I always loved Connections which charted the course of related inventions through each episode.

  6. Dear, oh dear. People: the documentary was an introduction. It introduced many people to the Civil War and its consequences. Me, for one. I began reading about the Civil War because of this series, and haven’t stopped. So, okay, there are things to criticize, but it provided a good outline for people who knew little or nothing at all about this important part of American history.

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