West Bloomfield Township Public Library
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Ken Burns Documentaries

Learn about history like never before with documentaries by Ken Burns.

Ken Burns : here & there

A rare look at the over four-decade intimate relationship Ken Burns has with his America and beloved community of Walpole, NH, and the importance that a "sense of place" and belonging has in one's life. That the essential American fabric of patriotism and goodness are woven through each of us, and often, the road less traveled is a good decision

Country music : live at the Ryman : a concert celebrating the film by Ken Burns

"On March 27, 2019, acclaimed filmmkaer Ken Burns invited some of country music's finest artists to gather at Nashville's historic Ryman Auditorium to celebrate the launch of his landmark PBS series Country Music. Burns and his longtime collaborator Dayton Duncan curated an evening of selected highlights from the series combined with performances of the music's iconic songs by some of country's finest artists." --container

Country music Discs 1-4

Ken Burns chronicles the history of a uniquely American art form, rising from the experiences of remarkable people in distinctive regions of the nation. From its roots in ballads, hymns, and the blues to its mainstream popularity, viewers will follow the evolution of country music over the course of the twentieth century as it eventually emerged to become America's music. Features never-before-seen footage and photographs, plus interviews with more than 80 country music artists

Country music Discs 5-8

Ken Burns chronicles the history of a uniquely American art form, rising from the experiences of remarkable people in distinctive regions of the nation. From its roots in ballads, hymns, and the blues to its mainstream popularity, viewers will follow the evolution of country music over the course of the twentieth century as it eventually emerged to become America's music. Features never-before-seen footage and photographs, plus interviews with more than 80 country music artists

The Mayo Clinic : faith, hope, science

Discover the story of the renowned institution that has been called a "Medical Mecca," the "Supreme Court of Medicine," and the "place for hope when there is no hope."

Defying the Nazis : the Sharps' war

It tells the never-before-told story of Waitstill and Martha Sharp, an American minister and his wife from Wellesley, Massachusetts, who left their children behind in the care of their parish and boldly committed to a life-threatening mission in Europe. Over two dangerous years they helped save scores of imperiled dissidents and refugees fleeing the Nazi occupation across Europe

Cancer : the emperor of all maladies

Presents a history of cancer, from ancient times to the present day. Includes stories of contemporary patients and examines the latest scientific research which might indicate that we are on the brink of a lasting cure

Jackie Robinson

Tells of the story of Jack Roosevelt Robinson, a sharecropper's son who elevated an entire race and country when he broke Major League Baseball's color barrier in 1947. The film illuminates Robinson's place as a leader and icon of the civil rights movement whose exemplary life and aspirational message of equality continues to inspire generations of Americans. Includes interviews with family members and rarely-seen photographs and film footage

The address

" At the tiny Greenwood School in the small New England town of Putney, Vermont, its roughly 50 students, boys from the ages 11 to 17 are asked each year to memorize the Gettysburg Address. This would be a daunting assignment for any student, but the boys at Greenwood all suffer from learning differences that have made their personal, academic and social progress extremely challenging. " -- container

The Roosevelts : an intimate history. Discs 1-3

Profiles Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor as the most prominent members of the most important family in history. Through their stories, PBS chronicles the history they helped to shape, from the Square Deal to the New Deal, San Juan Hill to the Western Front, to the founding of the United Nations

The Roosevelts : an intimate history. Discs 4-7

Profiles Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor as the most prominent members of the most important family in history. Through their stories, PBS chronicles the history they helped to shape, from the Square Deal to the New Deal, San Juan Hill to the Western Front, to the founding of the United Nations

The Central Park five

Chronicles America's complicated perceptions of race and crime through the story of the Central Park 5--a group of minority teenagers wrongfully convicted of brutally raping a white woman in New York

The dust bowl

Ken Burns documents the worst man-made ecological disaster in American history, when a frenzied wheat boom on the southern Plains, followed by a decade-long drought during the 1930s, nearly swept away the breadbasket of the nation. Vivid interviews, dramatic photographs, and seldom-seen movie footage bring to life incredible stories of human suffering and perseverance. Includes bonus features

Prohibition

This videodisc explores the extraordinary story of what happens when a freedom-loving nation outlaws the sale of intoxicating liquor, and the disastrous unintended consequences that follow. The utterly relevant cautionary tale raises profound questions about the proper role of government and the limits of legislating morality. When the country goes dry in 1920, after a century of debate, millions of law-abiding Americans become lawbreakers overnight

Huey Long

Uses archival film footage to portray events in the life of the charismatic Louisiana politician Huey Long who built roads, bridges, and schools, but whose brutal, corrupt reign suddenly ended in a hail of bullets. Incorporates interviews with scholars and the recollections of Louisianans who knew Long

Unforgivable blackness : the rise and fall of Jack Johnson

The in-depth and intimate story of one of the most important African Americans to live in the first half of the 20th century. Tells the story of Jack Johnson, who was the first African American boxer to win the most coveted title in all of sports--Heavyweight Champion of the World. Includes his struggles in and out of the ring and his desire to live his life as a free man in race-obsessed America

Frank Lloyd Wright

Uses interviews and archival footage to tell the story of the melodramatic life and stunning architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright. Discusses some of the 800+ buildings designed by Wright, including the Guggenheim Museum, the Johnson Wax Building, Fallingwater, Unity Temple, and Taliesin. Examines how Wright's buildings and ideas changed the way we live, work, and see the world around us. Documents the turbulence of Wright's personal life, including his three marriages, financial troubles, and many scandals

Mark Twain

Recounts Mark Twain's life told primarily through his own words. Includes interviews with Hal Holbrook, Arthur Miller, William Styron and many others

Not for ourselves alone : the story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony

Presents the history of women's suffrage in the United States through the dramatic, often turbulent friendship of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan Anthony. Part 1 covers the years from their youth up to the establishment of the National Woman Suffrage Association in 1868. Part 2 spans the period from 1868 to the passage in 1919 of the 19th amendment to the Constitution which gave women the vote

The Shakers : hands to work, hearts to God

This revealing and poignant film by Ken Burns portrays 200 years of Shaker life in America, guided by the recollections of the three surviving members of the faith, along with a wealth of archival material from over 40 collections. Explore every aspect of this strange and noble sect that produced some of the greatest architecture and furniture in American history

Thomas Hart Benton

Filmmaker Ken Burns traces the life and turbulent career of one of America's best known and least understood painters. A bittersweet portrait combining rare archival material, commentary by those close to him, and a collection of his stunning paintings

Empire of the air : the men who made radio

Story of radio from 1906-1955 and the three men who made it happen: Lee de Forest, Edwin Howard Armstrong, and David Sarnoff. Combines archival photographs, newsreels of the period, interviews, and radio soundtrack

Horatio's drive : America's first road trip

Horatio Nelson Jackson, an eccentric Vermont doctor, drove from San Francisco to New York City, in 1903 to became the first person to drive an automobile across the continent - a feat never before accomplished. It would mark the beginning of a new era in America and the end of another. It took Lewis & Clark over two years to go from the Atlantic to the Pacific - Horatio went the opposite direction, by means of the "Horseless carriage", in less than 3 months

Thomas Jefferson

Revered as the author of the Declaration of Independence, yet condemned as a lifelong owner of slaves

Lewis & Clark : the journey of the Corps of Discovery

Tells the story of the most important expedition in American history, led by Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. Includes the stories of the young army men, French-Canadian boatmen, Clark's African-American slave, and the Shoshone woman named Sacagawea who went with them

The Congress

Explores the history and promise of Congress, one of America's most important and least understood institutions

Brooklyn Bridge : Ken Burns America collection

This award-winning program recaptures all of the drama, the struggles and the personal tragedies behind this greatest of all achievements of America's Industrial Age

Statue of Liberty

"For more than 100 years, the Statue of Liberty has been a symbol of hope and a refuge for generations of immigrants. In this lyrical, compelling and provocative portrait of the statue, Ken Burns explores both the history of America's premier symbol and the meaning of liberty itself. Featuring rare archival photographs, paintings and drawings, readings from actual diaries, letters and newspapers of the day, the fascinating story of this universally admired monument is told."--Container

The national parks : America's best idea Discs 1 - 3

Traces the birth of the national park idea in the mid-1800s and follows its evolution for nearly 150 years. Using archival photographs, first-person accounts of historical characters, personal memories and analysis from more than 40 interviews, and what Burns believes is the most stunning cinematography in Florentine Films' history, the series chronicles the steady addition of new parks through the stories of the people who helped create them and save them from destruction

The national parks : America's best idea Discs 4 - 6

Traces the birth of the national park idea in the mid-1800s and follows its evolution for nearly 150 years. Using archival photographs, first-person accounts of historical characters, personal memories and analysis from more than 40 interviews, and what Burns believes is the most stunning cinematography in Florentine Films' history, the series chronicles the steady addition of new parks through the stories of the people who helped create them and save them from destruction

The Civil War Discs 1-3

An epic documentary bringing life to America's most destructive - and defining - conflict. Here is the saga of celebrated generals and the ordinary soldiers. A heroic and transcendent president and a country that had to divide itself in two in order to become one again

The Civil War Discs 4-5

An epic documentary bringing life to America's most destructive - and defining - conflict. Here is the saga of celebrated generals and the ordinary soldiers. A heroic and transcendent president and a country that had to divide itself in two in order to become one again

The West . Discs 1-3

Chronicles the history of the American West, starting with the first European explorations and ending with the beginning of the 20th century. Examines the impact of the white settlers on the lives of the Native Americans and the land. Also discusses the Gold Rush, the Civil War, the building of the transcontinental railroad, the battle of Little Bighorn, and the massacre at Wounded Knee

The West . Discs 4-5

Chronicles the history of the American West, starting with the first European explorations and ending with the beginning of the 20th century. Examines the impact of the white settlers on the lives of the Native Americans and the land. Also discusses the Gold Rush, the Civil War, the building of the transcontinental railroad, the battle of Little Bighorn, and the massacre at Wounded Knee

The war Discs 1-3

Tells the story of ordinary people in four quintessentially American towns - Waterbury, Connecticut; Mobile, Alabama; Sacramento, California; and Luverne, Minnesota - and examines the ways in which the Second World War touched the lives of every family on every street in every town in America

The war Discs 4-6

Tells the story of ordinary people in four quintessentially American towns - Waterbury, Connecticut; Mobile, Alabama; Sacramento, California; and Luverne, Minnesota - and examines the ways in which the Second World War touched the lives of every family on every street in every town in America

Jazz : a film by Ken Burns. Discs 1-4

10 episodes tracing the history of jazz from its roots in the African-American community of New Orleans to its heights and continuing presence

Jazz : a film by Ken Burns. Discs 5-8

10 episodes tracing the history of jazz from its roots in the African-American community of New Orleans to its heights and continuing presence

Jazz : a film by Ken Burns. Discs 9-10

10 episodes tracing the history of jazz from its roots in the African-American community of New Orleans to its heights and continuing presence

The Vietnam War. . Discs 1-3

In an immersive narrative, Burns and Novick tell the epic story of the Vietnam War as it has never before been told on film. Features testimony from nearly 100 witnesses, including many Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as Vietnamese combatants and civilians from both the winning and losing sides

The Vietnam War. . Discs 4-5

In an immersive narrative, Burns and Novick tell the epic story of the Vietnam War as it has never before been told on film. Features testimony from nearly 100 witnesses, including many Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as Vietnamese combatants and civilians from both the winning and losing sides

The Vietnam War . Discs 6-8

In an immersive narrative, Burns and Novick tell the epic story of the Vietnam War as it has never before been told on film. Features testimony from nearly 100 witnesses, including many Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as Vietnamese combatants and civilians from both the winning and losing sides

The Vietnam War . Discs 9-10

In an immersive narrative, Burns and Novick tell the epic story of the Vietnam War as it has never before been told on film. Features testimony from nearly 100 witnesses, including many Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as Vietnamese combatants and civilians from both the winning and losing sides

Baseball. Inning 1, Our game (1840s-1900)

It is an epic overflowing with heroes and hopefuls, scoundrels and screwballs. It is a saga spanning the quest for racial justice, the clash of labor and management, the transformation of popular culture, and the unfolding of the national pastime. Here is the story of a nation at work and play

Baseball. Inning 2, Something like a war (1900-1910)

It is an epic overflowing with heroes and hopefuls, scoundrels and screwballs. It is a saga spanning the quest for racial justice, the clash of labor and management, the transformation of popular culture, and the unfolding of the national pastime. Here is the story of a nation at work and play

Baseball. Inning 3, The faith of fifty million people (1910-1920)

It is an epic overflowing with heroes and hopefuls, scoundrels and screwballs. It is a saga spanning the quest for racial justice, the clash of labor and management, the transformation of popular culture, and the unfolding of the national pastime. Here is the story of a nation at work and play

Baseball. Inning 4, A national heirloom (1920-1930)

It is an epic overflowing with heroes and hopefuls, scoundrels and screwballs. It is a saga spanning the quest for racial justice, the clash of labor and management, the transformation of popular culture, and the unfolding of the national pastime. Here is the story of a nation at work and play

Baseball. Inning 5, Shadow ball (1930-1940)

It is an epic overflowing with heroes and hopefuls, scoundrels and screwballs. It is a saga spanning the quest for racial justice, the clash of labor and management, the transformation of popular culture, and the unfolding of the national pastime. Here is the story of a nation at work and play

Baseball. Inning 6, The national pastime (1940-1950)

It is an epic overflowing with heroes and hopefuls, scoundrels and screwballs. It is a saga spanning the quest for racial justice, the clash of labor and management, the transformation of popular culture, and the unfolding of the national pastime. Here is the story of a nation at work and play

Baseball. Inning 7, The capital of baseball (1950-1960)

It is an epic overflowing with heroes and hopefuls, scoundrels and screwballs. It is a saga spanning the quest for racial justice, the clash of labor and management, the transformation of popular culture, and the unfolding of the national pastime. Here is the story of a nation at work and play

Baseball. Inning 8, A whole new ballgame (1960-1970)

It is an epic overflowing with heroes and hopefuls, scoundrels and screwballs. It is a saga spanning the quest for racial justice, the clash of labor and management, the transformation of popular culture, and the unfolding of the national pastime. Here is the story of a nation at work and play

Baseball. Inning 9, Home (1970-1992)

It is an epic overflowing with heroes and hopefuls, scoundrels and screwballs. It is a saga spanning the quest for racial justice, the clash of labor and management, the transformation of popular culture, and the unfolding of the national pastime. Here is the story of a nation at work and play

Baseball. Inning 10, disc 1, Top of the tenth (1992-1999)

It is an epic overflowing with heroes and hopefuls, scoundrels and screwballs. It is a saga spanning the quest for racial justice, the clash of labor and management, the transformation of popular culture, and the unfolding of the national pastime. Here is the story of a nation at work and play. Experience it in ten thrilling "innings" from master storyteller and award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns
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National Medal Recipient of the National Medal, the nation's highest honor for libraries.