Ken Burns has to be my favorite documentary film maker at this point, and I say that having never seen his well-known piece on the Civil War. Gabriel was born just as Burns’s World War II film, The War, was being shown on PBS. As we endured many throughout-the-night feedings during that newborn period, I watched this film in 20-30 minute bites and felt sheer amazement at the amount of research and the organization required to sift through so many photos, video clips, and tracking down witnesses sixty years later for interviews. Well, days after Caroline was born, I saw Burns interviewed on The Colbert Report, discussing his newest film on the U.S. National Parks. I finished the final segment in the wee hours of the morning today, and it was AWESOME.
I just cannot find a more sophisticated way of saying it – it is an awesome film. It is well-researched, elegant, educational, inspiring – after twelve hours of total viewing over a three week period, I found myself disappointed that there was not even more. It got me excited about the latter half of the 19th century in U.S. History/early 20th century, and I found myself browsing online for books about John Muir (about whom I knew nothing until this film experience), Theodore Roosevelt (why don’t I know more about him than I do?), Stephen Mather (of whom I had never heard until this film), Horace Albright – the list goes on and on. There are so many very pivotal figures in our nation’s history, responsible for preserving much of our native biological heritage, who are overlooked in high school history classes.