Ken Burns: His decision to do another war documentary came reulctantly





... [Ken] Burns wasn't looking to document another war. Quite the opposite, in fact.

His 1990 masterpiece The Civil War - the top-rated limited series in PBS history - "was so wrenching for us, we felt spent. We vowed not to do another war film. Period. End of statement.
"It was too heavy. Too close. We're emotional archaeologists. We're not just excavating dates from the past. These are not products or ways to make a living. These are grand obsessions."
Still, aging vets and/or their children kept pleading with Burns to turn his unique, quintessentially American lens on World War II. He politely declined.

Until the late '90s, that is, when he read that U.S. vets were dying at the rate of 1,000 per day. Suddenly, Burns felt he couldn't let their memories die with them.

These aren't our ancestors, he thought. These are our fathers, our grandfathers.

Also, it didn't hurt that his friend Tom Brokaw had blazed the trail with his hugely successful "Greatest Generation" franchise....

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