Best Selling Books by Ken Burns

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release date: May 01, 2018
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John McCain: American Maverick
This lavishly illustrated volume—featuring a foreword by award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns—provides a compelling look at the life and career of Senator John McCain from his early years to today, exploring his legacy, his impact, and his place in American history. 
 
As of January 3, 2018, John Sidney McCain III, one of the most influential statesmen of our time, will have served as a US senator for 31 years—11,324 days. This unofficial retrospective honors and pays homage to Senator McCain’s astonishing journey—a story of courage, resilience, and leadership; irrepressibility, determination, and grit. Written by acclaimed journalist Elaine Povich, it covers his childhood as the son and grandson of admirals, his service as a naval aviator in Vietnam and subsequent harrowing five-year imprisonment in a POW camp, his congressional and senatorial careers, his family, his presidential campaigns, and perhaps his most important role yet, as an elder statesman willing to stand up for the nation. With more than 100 photographs, highlights from notable speeches, and inspiring quotes, this book is a moving tribute to a true American hero and icon.
release date: Sep 08, 2009
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The National Parks: America's Best Idea
The companion volume to the twelve-hour PBS series from the acclaimed filmmaker behind The Civil War, Baseball, and The War

America’s national parks spring from an idea as radical as the Declaration of Independence: that the nation’s most magnificent and sacred places should be preserved, not for royalty or the rich, but for everyone. In this evocative and lavishly illustrated narrative, Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan delve into the history of the park idea, from the first sighting by white men in 1851 of the valley that would become Yosemite and the creation of the world’s first national park at Yellowstone in 1872, through the most recent additions to a system that now encompasses nearly four hundred sites and 84 million acres.

The authors recount the adventures, mythmaking, and intense political battles behind the evolution of the park system, and the enduring ideals that fostered its growth. They capture the importance and splendors of the individual parks: from Haleakala in Hawaii to Acadia in Maine, from Denali in Alaska to the Everglades in Florida, from Glacier in Montana to Big Bend in Texas. And they introduce us to a diverse cast of compelling characters—both unsung heroes and famous figures such as John Muir, Theodore Roosevelt, and Ansel Adams—who have been transformed by these special places and committed themselves to saving them from destruction so that the rest of us could be transformed as well.

The National Parks
is a glorious celebration of an essential expression of American democracy.
release date: Apr 04, 2017
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Obama: The Historic Presidency of Barack Obama - 2,920 Days
A vibrant celebration of President Obama, this perfect commemorative book provides a valuable record of his historical presidency.
In January 2017, Barack Obama concluded two terms of his historic presidency. Through stunning images by White House photographers and beyond, as well as notable essays and quotes from a broad spectrum of people, Obama looks back at President Obama’s journey—from his remarkable victory to his final days in office and the significant milestones along the way. 
      Obama features rare and unseen photographs, along with iconic images and newspaper front pages from the president’s 2,920 days in office. It includes dramatic pictures, including the iconic shot from the situation room as the president and his staff watched the live unfolding of the bin Laden raid; day-to-day images of Obama in his roles as a world leader, policy maker, commander in chief, and father; lighthearted photos from the White House Correspondents’ Dinner; late-night television appearances; and moments with the entire Obama family. 
     Included are excerpts from seven historic speeches and contributions from notable historians, community leaders, journalists, academics and business leaders—including Sir Richard Branson, Laurie Garrett, Tweed Roosevelt, Anastasia Somoza and others whose lives have been touched by Obama’s actions and initiatives. Obama is truly a keepsake memento of a beloved president. 
 
release date: Sep 05, 2017
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The Vietnam War: An Intimate History
From the award-winning historian and filmmakers of The Civil War, Baseball, The War, The Roosevelts, and others: a vivid, uniquely powerful history of the conflict that tore America apart--the companion volume to the major, multipart PBS film to be aired in September 2017.

More than forty years after it ended, the Vietnam War continues to haunt our country. We still argue over why we were there, whether we could have won, and who was right and wrong in their response to the conflict. When the war divided the country, it created deep political fault lines that continue to divide us today. Now, continuing in the tradition of their critically acclaimed collaborations, the authors draw on dozens and dozens of interviews in America and Vietnam to give us the perspectives of people involved at all levels of the war: U.S. and Vietnamese soldiers and their families, high-level officials in America and Vietnam, antiwar protestors, POWs, and many more. The book plunges us into the chaos and intensity of combat, even as it explains the rationale that got us into Vietnam and kept us there for so many years. Rather than taking sides, the book seeks to understand why the war happened the way it did, and to clarify its complicated legacy. Beautifully written and richly illustrated, this is a tour de force that is certain to launch a new national conversation.
release date: Nov 13, 2001
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Mark Twain: An Illustrated Biography
Ernest Hemingway called Huckleberry Finn “the best book we’ve ever had. There was nothing before. There’s been nothing as good since.” Critical opinion of this book hasn’t dimmed since Hemingway uttered these words; as author Russell Banks says in these pages, Twain “makes possible an American literature which would otherwise not have been possible.” He was the most famous American of his day, and remains in ours the most universally revered American writer. Here the master storytellers Geoffrey Ward, Ken Burns, and Dayton Duncan give us the first fully illustrated biography of Mark Twain, American literature’s touchstone, its funniest and most inventive figure.

This book pulls together material from a variety of published and unpublished sources. It examines not merely his justly famous novels, stories, travelogues, and lectures, but also his diaries, letters, and 275 illustrations and photographs from throughout his life. The authors take us from Samuel Langhorne Clemens’s boyhood in Hannibal, Missouri, to his time as a riverboat worker—when he adopted the sobriquet “Mark Twain”—to his varied careers as a newspaperman, printer, and author. They follow him from the home he built in Hartford, Connecticut, to his peripatetic travels across Europe, the Middle East, and the United States. We see Twain grieve over his favorite daughter’s death, and we see him writing and noticing everything.

Twain believed that “The secret source of humor itself is not joy but sorrow. There is no humor in heaven.” This paradox fueled his hilarity and lay at the core of this irreverent yet profoundly serious author. With essays by Russell Banks, Jocelyn Chadwick, Ron Powers, and John Boyer, as well as an interview with actor and
frequent Twain portrayer Hal Holbrook, this book provides a full and rich portrayal of the first figure of American letters.
release date: Apr 03, 2017
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Empowered Educators: How High-Performing Systems Shape Teaching Quality Around the World
Discover how high-performing systems shape teaching quality around the world

Producing highly skilled and committed teachers is not the work of a single innovative school or the aggregation of heroic individuals who succeed against the odds. In high-performing countries, the opportunities for teachers to learn sophisticated practices and continue to improve are embedded systemically in education policies and practices. Empowered Educators describes how this seemingly magical work is done—how a number of forward-thinking educational systems create a coherent set of policies designed to ensure quality teaching in all communities. . . and how the results are manifested in practice.

Spanning three continents and five countries, Empowered Educators examines seven jurisdictions that have worked to develop comprehensive teaching policy systems: Singapore and Finland, the states of New South Wales and Victoria in Australia, the provinces of Alberta and Ontario in Canada, and the province of Shanghai in China. Renowned education expert Linda Darling-Hammond and a team of esteemed scholars offer lessons learned in a number of areas that shape the teaching force and the work of teachers, shedding unprecedented light on areas such as teacher recruitment, preparation, induction and mentoring, professional learning, career and leadership development, and more.

  • Find out how quality teaching is developed and conducted across the globe
  • Discover a common set of strategies for developing, supporting, and sustaining the ongoing learning and development of teachers and school leaders
  • See how high-performing countries successfully recruit and train educators
  • Understand why the sharing of expertise among teachers and administrators within and across schools is beneficial

A fascinating read for researchers, policymakers, administrators, teacher educators, pre-service teachers and leaders, and anyone with an interest in education, this book offers a rare glimpse into the systems that are shaping quality teaching around the world.

release date: Oct 08, 2002
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Jazz: A History of America's Music
The companion volume to the ten-part PBS TV series by the team responsible for
The Civil War and Baseball.

Continuing in the tradition of their critically acclaimed works, Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns vividly bring to life the story of the quintessential American music—jazz. Born in the black community of turn-of-the-century New Orleans but played from the beginning by musicians of every color, jazz celebrates all Americans at their best.

Here are the stories of the extraordinary men and women who made the music: Louis Armstrong, the fatherless waif whose unrivaled genius helped turn jazz into a soloist's art and influenced every singer, every instrumentalist who came after him; Duke Ellington, the pampered son of middle-class parents who turned a whole orchestra into his personal instrument, wrote nearly two thousand pieces for it, and captured more of American life than any other composer. Bix Beiderbecke, the doomed cornet prodigy who showed white musicians that they too could make an important contribution to the music; Benny Goodman, the immigrants' son who learned the clarinet to help feed his family, but who grew up to teach a whole country how to dance; Billie Holiday, whose distinctive style routinely transformed mediocre music into great art; Charlie Parker, who helped lead a musical revolution, only to destroy himself at thirty-four; and Miles Davis, whose search for fresh ways to sound made him the most influential jazz musician of his generation, and then led him to abandon jazz altogether. Buddy Bolden, Jelly Roll Morton, Dizzy Gillespie, Art Tatum, Count Basie, Dave Brubeck, Artie Shaw, and Ella Fitzgerald are all here; so are Sidney Bechet, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, and a host of others.

But Jazz is more than mere biography. The history of the music echoes the history of twentieth-century America. Jazz provided the background for the giddy era that F. Scott Fitzgerald called the Jazz Age. The irresistible pulse of big-band swing lifted the spirits and boosted American morale during the Great Depression and World War II. The virtuosic, demanding style called bebop mirrored the stepped-up pace and dislocation that came with peace. During the Cold War era, jazz served as a propaganda weapon—and forged links with the burgeoning counterculture. The story of jazz encompasses the story of American courtship and show business; the epic growth of great cities—New Orleans and Chicago, Kansas City and New York—and the struggle for civil rights and simple justice that continues into the new millennium.

Visually stunning, with more than five hundred photographs, some never before published, this book, like the music it chronicles, is an exploration—and a celebration—of the American experiment.


From the Hardcover edition.
release date: Sep 21, 2010
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Baseball: An Illustrated History
The acclaimed nationwide best seller and companion volume to Ken Burns’s grand-slam PBS documentary—updated and expanded to coincide with the broadcast of a new, two-part Tenth Inning that looks back on the age of steroids, home-run records, the rise of Latino players, and so much more.

With a narrative by Geoffrey C. Ward, a preface to the new edition by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, a new chapter by Kevin Baker, and an introduction by Roger Angell

Essays by Thomas Boswell, Robert W. Creamer, Gerald Early, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Bill James, David Lamb, Daniel Okrent, John Thorn, George F. Will

And featuring an interview with Buck O’Neil
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release date: Sep 18, 2018
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The Mayo Clinic: Faith, Hope,Science
Based on the PBS documentary by Ken Burns, Erik Ewers, and Christopher Loren Ewers airing September 25.

On September 30, 1889, W.W. Mayo and his sons Will and Charlie performed the very first operation at a brand-new Catholic hospital in Rochester, Minnesota. It was called Saint Marys.

The hospital arose out of the devastation of a tornado that had struck the town six years earlier. After the storm, Mother Alfred Moes of the Sisters of Saint Francis told the Mayos that she had a vision of building a hospital that would “become world renowned for its medical arts.”

Based on the film by acclaimed documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, The Mayo Clinic: Faith, Hope, Science chronicles the history of this unique organization, from its roots as an unlikely partnership between a country doctor and a Franciscan order of nuns to its position today as a worldwide model for patient care, research, and education.

Featuring more than 400 compelling archival and modern images, as well as the complete script from the film, the book demonstrates how the institution’s remarkable 150-year history continues to inspire the way medicine is practiced there today. In addition, a series of case studies reveals patients, doctors, and nurses in their most private moments as together they face difficult diagnoses and embark on uncertain treatments.

The film and this companion book tell the story of an organization that has managed to stay true to its primary value—the needs of the patient come first. Together, they make an important contribution to the critical discussions about the delivery of health care today in America…and the world.
release date: Sep 05, 1990
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The Civil War: An Illustrated History

The companion volume to the celebrated PBS television series, with a new preface to mark its twenty-fifth anniversary
 
With more than 500 illustrations: rare Civil War photographs—many never before published—as well as paintings, lithographs, and maps reproduced in full color
 
It was the greatest war in American history. It was waged in 10,000 places—from Valverde, New Mexico, and Tullahoma, Tennessee, to St. Albans, Vermont, and Fernandina on the Florida coast. More than 3 million Americans fought in it and more than 600,000 men died in it. Not only the immensity of the cataclysm but the new weapons, the new standards of generalship, and the new strategies of destruction—together with the birth of photography—were to make the Civil War an event present ever since in the American consciousness. Thousands of books have been written about it. Yet there has never been a history of the Civil War quite like this one.
 
A wealth of documentary illustrations and a narrative alive with original and energetic scholarship combine to present both the grand sweep of events and the minutest of human details. Here are the crucial events of the war: the firing of the first shots at Fort Sumter; the battles of Shiloh, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg; the siege of Vicksburg; Sherman’s dramatic march to the sea; the surrender at Appomattox. Here are the superb portraits of the key figures: Abraham Lincoln, claiming for the presidency almost autocratic power in order to preserve the Union; the austere Jefferson Davis, whose government disappeared almost before it could be formed; Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant, seasoned generals of fierce brilliance and reckless determination. Here is the America in which the war was fought: The Civil War is not simply the story of great battles and great generals; it is also an elaborate portrait of the American people—individuals and families, northerners and southerners, soldiers and civilians, slaves and slaveowners, rich and poor, urban and rural—caught up in the turbulence of the times.
 
An additional resonance is provided by four essays, the work of prominent Civil War historians. Don E. Fehrenbacher discusses the causes of the war; Barbara J. Fields writes about emancipation; James M. McPherson looks at the politics of the 1864 election; C. Vann Woodward speculates on how the war has affected the American identity. And Shelby Foote talks to filmmaker Ken Burns about wartime life on the battlefield and at home.
 
A magnificent book. In its visual power, its meticulous research, its textual brilliance, and the humanity of its narrative, The Civil War will stand among the most illuminating and memorable portrayals of the American past. 

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