Ken Burns's America

by Edgerton, Gary R. 1952-

Format: Print Book 2001
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
Bethel Park Public Library Nonfiction 791.45 ED
Location  Bethel Park Public Library
Collection  Nonfiction
Call Number  791.45 ED
This is the first book-length study to critically examine the work of Ken Burns, the innovative producer-director as a television auteur, a pivotal programming influence within the industry, and a popular historian who portrays a uniquely personal and compelling version of the country's past for tens of millions of viewers nationwide. Ken Burns's America has a three-fold agenda: First it looks at the ideas and individuals that have influenced Burns in the creation of his easily-recognized style, as well as in the development and maturation of his ideological outlook. Second, the book gives readers a window on the Ken Burns production machine. Gary Edgerton shows us the inner working of Florentine Films. Finally, he looks at Burns as a popular historian who reevaluates the nation's historical legacy from a new generational perspective and, in the process, becomes one of the major cultural commentators of our era. The volume finally takes the full measure of the man and the industry he has helped to create.
Rebirth of a nation : reframing The Civil War (1990) on prime-time television
Life lessons : learning the basics on Brooklyn Bridge (1982)
Variations on a theme : American originals, symbols, and institutions
The creative team as historian : inside the production process on Empire of the air : the men who made radio (1992)
A whole new ball game : Baseball (1994) and The West (1996) as event TV
American lives : Thomas Jefferson (1997) and the television biography as popular history
Ken Burns's America reconsidered : mainstreaming Jazz (2001) for a national audience.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "With his hugely popular documentaries on the Civil War, baseball, and jazz, Ken Burns has heightened interest in history beyond academics and transformed the image of documentary filmmakers. Burns is celebrated for his evocative images and his ability to bring history to life through the integration of interviews with still images. Edgerton, a communications professor, starts this absorbing book by probing the artistry and significance of Burns' most famous documentary, The Civil War, which set records for public television viewership. Burns' films reflect his own liberal politics and traditional values, Edgerton maintains, as he examines Burns' filming techniques--how Burns constructs the narrative and emotional elements of his films--and personal philosophy. Edgerton traces Burns' development as a filmmaker and producer from a struggling partner in a ragtag film company to the premiere documentary maker in American television. History buffs, viewers who've seen Burns' documentaries, and readers interested in film will love this informative and probing book. --Vanessa Bush"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns receives the royal treatment in this lavish study of his life and work. Edgerton (Television Histories), a communications professor at Old Dominion University, examines each of Burns's productions, from his first major effort in 1982, Brooklyn Bridge, up to last year's Jazz. No detail is too small for Edgerton, whether it's how many votes Burns's Huey Long was short for an Academy Award nomination (two) or how much time was devoted to Jackie Robinson's death in Baseball (seven minutes, 50 seconds). Burns is worth all this effort, Edgerton believes, because he is "arguably the most recognizable and influential historian of his generation." In terms of sheer popular appeal, it's difficult to disagree: over 150 million Americans have seen Burns's films (nearly 40 million watched The Civil War alone). Moreover, as Edgerton points out, Burns's signature style (camera panning over still photographs, the recurring use of two or three speakers) has become the defining paradigm for TV documentaries. But as popular and influential as Burns's films have been, they've also been highly controversial. Academic historians, Edgerton recalls, accused The Civil War of being simplistic and downplaying the failures of Reconstruction; musicians were similarly dismayed that Jazz glossed over the years since 1960. Other critics have been put off by Burns himself, who is variously portrayed as sentimental, liberal and self-important (Burns called The Civil War America's Iliad, casting himself in the role of Homer). These criticisms don't bother Edgerton, who rightly points out that controversy is "unavoidable" with such large and complex subjects. (Nov. 5) Forecast: Popular as Burns's films are, this study will likely appeal to a smaller audience of media students and those interested in how history is presented in film or television. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Burns, Ken, -- 1953- -- Criticism and interpretation.
Florentine Films.
Documentary television programs -- United States -- History and criticism.
Historical television programs -- United States -- History and criticism.
Documentary television programs -- Production and direction -- United States.
Television producers and directors -- United States.
Public television -- United States -- History.
Television -- United States -- History.
Publisher New York :Palgrave for St. Martin's Press,2001
Edition 1st ed.
Language English
Description x, 268 pages, 10 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages [253]-261), videography (pages [249]-252), and indexes.
ISBN 0312236468
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