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Ken Burns Presents: The West

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I'm on record as a big Ken Burns fan, and I bit on this one.  Even though this is not actually directed by Ken Burns, I decided to give it a try.  It may not be directed by Ken Burns, but it's very obviously directed in his style, and done by Stephen Ives, a frequen cocollaborator with Burns.  The same care is given here, and it is quite a good documentary.

If you can get over the sometimes clumsy fetishization of Native Americans (another thing that it shares with Burns' work), the research and story here is very compelling. It's taking on no small part of US history, to cover half the nation in a long view that stretches all the way from the Spanish explorers to the current day, and even in 8 episodes, it still glosses over some stuff I'd like to hear more about.  But many parts of the series are truly stellar.  There is a lot of discussion about the sad history of the Native American tragedy, as well as repeated references back to the Mormons.  Just collating those stories together makes for a pretty good history, and all the rest is just gravy.

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