Ken Burns, whose film series have illuminated American history on PBS for decades (The Civil War, The National Parks, Jazz, Baseball and on and on), is arguably the leading documentarian of our time. Now he and his talented team from Walpole, N.H., have completed The Roosevelts, a 14-hour series that will spread over seven successive nights next fall, two hours of prime time per night. A few weeks later the nation will hold a mid-term election.
Burns is well aware that his films have had timely political effects, though he says the timing is always accidental. Prohibition, for example, is a cinematic polemic that aired in 2011 and may have affected public opinion on the subject of the current prohibition against pot--and contributed to recent state campaigns to end it.