Ken Burns America

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49 videos in this collection

Ken Burns The Central Park Five
The Central Park Five, from award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns, tells the story of the five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem who were wrongly convicted of raping a white woman…
Ken Burns The Address
The film tells the story of a tiny school in Putney Vermont, the Greenwood School, where each year the students are encouraged to memorize, practice and recite the Gettysburg Address.…
The Cause
Beginning with a searing indictment of slavery, this first episode dramatically evokes the causes of the war, from the Cotton Kingdom of the South to the northern abolitionists who opposed…
A Very Bloody Affair
1862 saw the birth of modern warfare and the transformation of Lincoln's war to preserve the Union into a war to emancipate the slaves. Episode Two begins with the political…
Forever Free
This episode charts the dramatic events that led to Lincoln's decision to set the slaves free. Convinced by July 1862 that emancipation was now morally and militarily crucial to the…
Simply Murder
The nightmarish Union disaster at Fredericksburg comes to two climaxes that spring: at Chancellorsville in May, where Lee wins his most brilliant victory but loses Stonewall Jackson; and at Vicksburg,…
The Universe of Battle
This episode opens with a dramatic account of the turning point of war: the Battle of Gettysburg, the greatest ever fought in the Western Hemisphere. For three days 150,000 men…
Valley of the Shadow of Death
Episode six begins with a biographical comparison of Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee and then chronicles the extraordinary series of battles that pitted the two generals against each…
Most Hallowed Ground
The episode begins with the presidential election of 1864 that sets Abraham Lincoln against his old commanding general, George McClellan. The stakes are nothing less than the survival of the…
War is All Hell
The episode begins with William Tecumseh Sherman's brilliant march to the sea, which brings the war to the heart of Georgia and the Carolinas and spells the end of the…
The Better Angels of Our Nature
This extraordinary final episode of The Civil War begins in the bittersweet aftermath of Lee's surrender and then goes on to narrate the horrendous events of five days later when,…
The Scripture of Nature
In 1851, word spreads across the country of a beautiful area of California's Yosemite Valley, attracting visitors who wish to exploit the land's scenery for commercial gain and those who…
The Last Refuge
By the end of the 19th century, widespread industrialization has left many Americans worried about whether the country - once a vast wilderness - will have any pristine land left.…
The Empire of Grandeur
In the early 20th century, America has a dozen national parks, but they are a haphazard patchwork of special places under the supervision of different federal agencies. The conservation movement,…
Going Home
While visiting the parks was once predominantly the domain of Americans wealthy enough to afford the high-priced train tours, the advent of the automobile allows more people than ever before…
Great Nature
To battle unemployment in the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt creates the Civilian Conservation Corps, which spawns a "golden age" for the parks through major renovation projects. In a groundbreaking…
The Morning of Creation
Following World War II, the parks are overwhelmed as visitation reaches 62 million people a year. A new billion-dollar campaign - Mission 66 - is created to build facilities and…
A Necessary War
Episode One "A Necessary War" December 1941-December 1942 After a haunting overview of the Second World War, an epoch of killing that engulfed the world from 1939 to 1945 and…
When Things Get Tough
Episode Two "When Things Get Tough" January 1943-December 1943 By January 1943, Americans have been at war for more than a year. The Germans, with their vast war machine, still…
A Deadly Calling
Episode Three "A Deadly Calling" November 1943-June 1944 In fall 1943, after almost two years of war, the American public is able to see for the first time the terrible…
Pride of Our Nation
Episode Four "Pride of Our Nation" June 1944-August 1944 By June 1944, there are signs on both sides of the world that the tide of the war is turning. On…
FUBAR
Episode Five "FUBAR" September 1944-December 1944 By September 1944, in Europe at least, the Allies seem to be moving steadily toward victory. "Militarily," General Dwight Eisenhower's chief of staff tells…
The Ghost Front
Episode Six "The Ghost Front" December 1944-March 1945 By December 1944, Americans have become weary of the war their young men have been fighting for three long years; the stream…
A World Without War
Episode Seven "A World Without War" March 1945-September 1945 In spring 1945, although the numbers of dead and wounded have more than doubled since D-Day, the people of Mobile, Sacramento,…
The People
The West begins as the whole world to the people who live there. It becomes a New World when Europeans arrive, a world shaken by incompatible visions. And almost three…
Empire Upon the Trails
The American realizes that 'Progress is God.' The destiny of the American people is to subdue the continent -- to rush over this vast field to the Pacific Ocean... to…
Speck of the Future
There are all kinds of people on earth that you will meet some day... They will be looking for a certain stone. They will be people who do not get…
Death Runs Riot
"Time after time, Congress and the people in the East saw the West as a safety valve, a place where you could go and escape the problems of where you…
The Grandest Enterprise Under God
I see over my own continent the Pacific railroad surmounting every barrier. I see continual trains of cars winding along the Platte, carrying freight and passengers. I hear the locomotives…
Fight No More Forever
My father was the first to see through the schemes of the white men....He said: "My son...when I am gone...you are the chief of these people....Always remember that your father…
The Geography of Hope
"Americans aren't wrong in seeing the West as a land of the future, a land in which astonishing things are possible. What they often are wrong about is that there's…
One Sky Above Us
By 1887, the West was changing faster than ever before. Americans were moved by the same impulses that had always moved them, to better their own lives and transform the…
Ken Burns: Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson is a two-part portrait of one of the most fascinating and complicated figures ever to walk across America's public stage - our enigmatic and brilliant third president. Thomas…
Ken Burns The Dust Bowl, Part 1
Until the arrival of European and American settlers in the late nineteenth century, the southern Plains of the United States were predominantly grasslands, the home and hunting grounds of many…
Ken Burns The Dust Bowl, Part 2
Until the arrival of European and American settlers in the late nineteenth century, the southern Plains of the United States were predominantly grasslands, the home and hunting grounds of many…
Ken Burns: The Brooklyn Bridge
The "Great East River Bridge" was the largest bridge of its era, a technical achievement of unparalleled scope, marked by enormous construction problems, equally ingenious solutions and heroic human achievement.…
Ken Burns: Empire of the Air
For 50 years radio dominated the airwaves and the American consciousness as the first "mass medium." In Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio, Ken Burns examines the…
Ken Burns: Mark Twain
Mark Twain was a lifelong creator and keeper of scrapbooks. He took them with him everywhere and filled them with souvenirs, pictures, and articles about his books and performances. But…
Ken Burns: The Shakers
They called themselves the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing, but because of their ecstatic dancing, the world called them Shakers. Though they were celibate, they are the…
Get Action
"Get Action" 1858-1901 Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt are the most prominent members of one of the most important families in American history. Theodore and Franklin occupy the White House…
In The Arena
"In The Arena" 1901-1910 After William McKinley's assassination, Theodore Roosevelt arrives in Washington in 1901 as the youngest President of the United States. He is unwilling to let Congress dictate…
The Fire of Life
"The Fire of Life" 1910 - 1919 With his election to the New York State Senate in 1910, Franklin D. Roosevelt sets out to make a name for himself in…
The Storm
"The Storm" 1920-1933 In the 1920s, memories of Theodore Roosevelt begin to fade. The Great War is over, Woodrow Wilson is ill, and the American public is weary of domestic…
The Rising Road
"The Rising Road" 1933-1939 Franklin Delano Roosevelt's 1933 presidential inauguration comes during the nation's worst economic crisis - the Great Depression. Banks have failed and savings accounts have been wiped…
The Common Cause
"The Common Cause" 1939-1944 By the late summer of 1939, Franklin Delano Roosevelt is halfway through his second term in office. Both he and Eleanor are tired and looking forward…
A Strong and Active Faith
"A Strong and Active Faith" 1944-1962 By April of 1944, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt have occupied the White House for more than eleven years. The President is secretly convalescing in…
A Nation of Drunkards
Americans have argued over alcohol for centuries. Since the early years of the American Republic, drinking has been at least as American as apple pie. As Episode 1: A Nation…
A Nation of Scoffaws
On January 16, 1920, the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution goes into effect, making it illegal to manufacture, transport or sell intoxicating liquor. Episode Two, A Nation of Scofflaws, examines…
A Nation of Hypocrites
In the mid 1920s, an unprecedented winning streak continues on Wall Street, and it feels to many like the good times will go on forever. Americans during the Jazz Age,…

Related videos

Ken Burns The Central Park Five
Part of the Series: Ken Burns America
The Central Park Five, from award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns, tells the story of the five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem who were wrongly convicted of raping a white woman in New York City's Central Park in 1989. Directed and produced by Burns, David McMahon and Sarah Burns, the film…
Ken Burns: Thomas Jefferson
PBS
Thomas Jefferson is a two-part portrait of one of the most fascinating and complicated figures ever to walk across America's public stage - our enigmatic and brilliant third president. Thomas Jefferson embodies within his own life the most profound contradictions of American history: as the author of our most sacred…
Ken Burns: The Brooklyn Bridge
Part of the Series: Ken Burns America
The "Great East River Bridge" was the largest bridge of its era, a technical achievement of unparalleled scope, marked by enormous construction problems, equally ingenious solutions and heroic human achievement. In unexpected and wonderful ways, the Brooklyn Bridge captured the imagination of all Americans, and in the process became a…
Our American Storytellers
Part of the Series: Finding Your Roots
Three iconic American storytellers have spent their lives chronicling the lives of others, while knowing almost nothing about their own family history. Ken Burns confronts the reality of his southern ancestors' role in the Civil War, including Confederate soldiers held captive and a slave-owning Virginian. Anderson Cooper, scion of one…
Ken Burns: The National Parks - America’s Best Idea
PBS
The National Parks: America's Best Idea is the story of an idea as uniquely American as the Declaration of Independence and just as radical: that the most special places in the nation should be preserved, not for royalty or the rich, but for everyone. As such, it follows in the…
Unforgivable Blackness - The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson
PBS
Jack Johnson -- the first African-American Heavyweight Champion of the World, whose dominance over his white opponents spurred furious debates and race riots in the early 20th century -- enters the ring once again in UNFORGIVABLE BLACKNESS: THE RISE AND FALL OF JACK JOHNSON a provocative new PBS documentary by…
Ken Burns: The Shakers - Hands to Work, Hearts to God
Part of the Series: Ken Burns America
They called themselves the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing, but because of their ecstatic dancing, the world called them Shakers. Though they were celibate, they are the most enduring religious experiment in American history. They believed in pacifism, natural health and hygiene, and for more than 200…
Germans and Jews
Today, Europe's fastest growing Jewish population is in Berlin. Germany is considered one of the most democratic societies in the world, assuming the position of moral leader in Europe as it embraces hundreds of thousands of refugees. None of these developments could have been imagined in 1945. Through personal stories…
Coney Island
Part of the Series: American Experience
"It is blatant, it is cheap, it is the apotheosis of the ridiculous. But it is something more; it is like Niagara Falls or the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone Park; it is a national playground, and not to have seen it is not to have seen your own country," said…
Prohibition - by Ken Burns
PBS
Prohibition is a three-part, five-and-a-half-hour documentary film series directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick that tells the story of the rise, rule, and fall of the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the entire era it encompassed. The culmination of nearly a century of activism, Prohibition was intended…
In Conversation: Ken Loach
Part of the Series: In Conversation
From the majestic Kes to the hilarious Riff-Raff, to the rather more wry Looking for Eric, British director Ken Loach's films shine a compassionate light on characters existing at the hard end of life. Feted with awards at Cannes and Venice including the Palme d'Or for The Wind That Shakes…
War Don Don
In the heart of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, United Nations soldiers guard a heavily fortified building known as the "special court." Inside, Issa Sesay awaits his trial. Prosecutors say Sesay is a war criminal, guilty of heinous crimes against humanity. His defenders say he is a reluctant fighter…