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Blue Ridge PBS Presents Re-Mastered Ken Burns Civil War Series

While The Civil War was not Ken Burns first award-winning film, he credits the documentary with raising him and his colleagues out of relative anonymity.

Blue Ridge PBS will broadcast the entire series of Ken Burns’ documentary “The Civil War” over five consecutive nights, beginning at 8 p.m. on Sunday April 3, and continuing through April 7. The re-mastered presentation of this award-winning 1990 landmark series coincides with the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War.

“This documentary and the 150th anniversary will be of special interest to our viewers, who have demonstrated a deep interest in Civil War programming for many years,” said James Baum, station president and CEO. “Virginia was a pivotal state in the four-year Civil War, with 60 percent of the battles fought here in the Old Dominion.”

The Emmy Award-winning Blue Ridge PBS production team has spent nearly 15 years documenting Virginia’s Civil War legacy, creating more than 11 different Civil War documentaries since Burns’ masterwork first aired. These local productions include “Virginia in the Civil War: A Sesquicentennial Remembrance,” which won a 2010 National Educational Telecommunications Association Award.

“As the region’s storyteller, Blue Ridge PBS is committed to addressing the history of our region and the state,” added Baum. “I’m sure all our viewers, including the Civil War buffs in the region, will find Ken Burns’ ‘The Civil War’ is as relevant and compelling as it was 21 years ago.”

The Civil War” was a milestone in the history of documentary film and television and it remains the highest-rated series in the history of American public television. Ken Burns brings to life America’s most destructive and defining conflict.

“The Civil War” is a saga of celebrated generals and ordinary soldiers, a heroic and transcendent president, and a country that had to divide itself in two in order to become one. The storytelling and use of music, experts and personal narratives, along with a stunning collection of period photographs, are just as poignant today as when the documentary premiered. Voices for the series include Sam Waterston, Jason Robards, Julie Harris, Jeremy Irons, Morgan Freeman, Paul Roebling, Garrison Keillor, Kurt Vonnegut, Arthur Miller and Studs Terkel. Historian David McCullough narrates.

Critics have lavished praise on Burns’ epic documentary. The New York Times called it a masterpiece and said that Burns “takes his place as the most accomplished documentary filmmaker of his generation.” Tom Shales of The Washington Post said, “This is not just good television, nor even just great television. This is heroic television.” The columnist George Will added, “If better use has ever been made of television, I have not seen it and do not expect to see better until Ken Burns turns his prodigious talents to his next project.”

The series has been honored with more than 40 major film and television awards, including two Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards, Producer of the Year Award from the Producers Guild, People’s Choice Award, Peabody Award, DuPont-Columbia Award, D.W. Griffith Award and the Lincoln Prize, among dozens of others.

Educators wanting additional instructional resources can find a web link included with information about the “The Civil War” posted at This web site also has more detail about the series and broadcast times.

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