5 Ken Burns Documentaries Every History Buff Must Watch

Sunday, February 19 by Irving Oala

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Ken Burns (pictured above) has been one of the first names people think of when they hear the word "documentary," as he has made some of the most famous ones. Playing on PBS, Burns has a unique way of walking people through a large amount of history in a exact yet fascinating way. Check ou these five Ken Burns documentaries you should watch, especially if you are a history buff.

"The Civil War".

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This nine episode epic homage covers the four year brutal war that killed more Americans than any war in history. It is both fascinating and haunting because of the death toll from the battles throughout this war, and it scarred and changed America forever. It also features narration by some of the finest actors and academics, like Sam Watterson, Shelby Foote and Arthur Miller.

"Baseball".

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Ken Burns' baseball documentary tells the story of how America's national past time rose to prominence in our nation and kept our nation together at times. The details behind the game itself mirror the spirit of the American Dream: an everyday man can rise up and become great in one at-bat or through one play. It is 22 hours, plus an added on documentary called "The Tenth Inning", all of which is worth watching, if you have the time.

"The War."

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Considered by many to be one of the most engrossing documentaries ever made and probably the best one by Burns, "The War" chronicles World War II in a way only Ken Burns can. All fronts of World War II are covered, and, like watching a great historical account, explanations for why World War II went the way it did are provided through fascinating stories of chance and mercy.

"The Great Bridge".

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Ken Burns made this fascinating documentary on a smaller scale about the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge and what went in to building this monumental achievement, which is still used today. This is a lesser known Burns film, as it focuses on a smaller man-made achievement. However, this doesn't minimize its importance; it explains what the bridge allowed New York, and in turn America, to become.

"The National Parks".

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Burns' documentary about the National Parks in America illustrates how setting up these parks became one of the more important cultural times in our country, changing how we looked at the nature around us. Learning about all the different national parks and how they came to be protected will not only teach you something, but it will also make you want to visit these parks. This is another little known Ken Burns documentary that is a must-see.

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