Ken Burns' most recent documentary film project, The War, tells the story of the Second World War through the personal accounts of more than 40 men and women from four quintessentially American towns - Waterbury, Connecticut; Mobile, Alabama; Sacramento, California; and Luverne, Minnesota - who experienced and helped to win the most extraordinary war in history.
Woven largely from their memories, the narrative unfolds as the war unfolded - month by bloody month, with the outcome always in doubt.
The film series explores the most intimate human dimensions of a worldwide catastrophe that touched the lives of every family on every street in every town in America demonstrating that in extraordinary times, there are no ordinary lives.
From Pearl Harbor to the liberation of the concentration camps, the companion book to this fall 2007 PBS series, The War: An Intimate History, 1941-1945 by Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns, includes all the iconic events as well as those of prisoners of war and Japanese American internees, defense workers and schoolchildren, and those who struggled simply to keep families together while their men were shipped off- NYPL
Ken Burns has been making films for more than thirty years. In 1981, Burns produced and directed his first film for PBS, the Academy Award nominated Brooklyn Bridge.
His other films include Huey Long; Thomas Hart Benton; Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio; a trilogy including The Civil War, Baseball, and Jazz; Frank Lloyd Wright; Not For Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony; Mark Twain; and Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson.
Burns is currently producing and directing a six-part film series on the history of the National Parks which will air on PBS in 2009. He is also working on a history of Prohibition and an update to his 1994 epic Baseball.
His current film, which premieres in September on PBS, is The War with a companion book he co-authored with Geoffrey C. Ward entitled The War: An Intimate History, 1941-1945.
Robert Stone was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1937. He is the author of several critically acclaimed novels and collections, including National Book Award Winner Dog Soldiersand Pulitzer Prize Finalist Bear and His Daughter. His most recent book is Bay of Souls.
Ken Burns' perspective that "too often in film, the word is the enemy of the picture" has led him to adopt a unique technique of fitting music into his films while trying to retain its essential authenticity.
Ken Burns talks about what makes the interviews in The War so emotionally potent and his method of choosing veterans to interview who were not only willing to tell their stories but who would otherwise have remained unnoticed within the fabric of their small home towns.