I think I can say that I gained a taste for Ken Burns documentaries in high school thanks to the history courses I was required to take. More came in college, while studying English and Communications. He’s covered nearly every aspect of American History and the majority of her highlights and low-lights.
So, when I saw the opportunity to watch his newest documentary epic The Roosevelts: An Intimate Portrait from the PBS website, I took it. Well, more technically, I’m taking it. In the morning while I work out, I’ve been learning about one of America’s most influential families of the early 20th century–from Theodore down to Eleanor and Franklin. Ken leaves nearly no stone unturned, even following briefly into the legacy Teddy, ER and FDR would leave behind in their children.
There are 7 episodes, and I just finished the 5th one this morning. There are five days remaining until its expired from the PBS streaming video collection. If you have an opportunity, click the title above and marathon watch! I implore you!
Watching this family and their history come to life with previously unseen (at least by this writer) footage, video, family pictures, and complementary quotes from colleagues, critics, and family members has been absolutely dreamy! This family and a few of its members faced high scrutiny but never stepped back from it (sometimes welcoming it with open arms, even encouraging it on purpose) in order to serve their own agenda and purposes with vigor.
“Get Action” is certainly the tagline for this family and their endless desire to do better for the American people than the leaders who came before them. Embracing change and the political games were not beneath, and infrequently championed by, the Roosevelts and they took no issue in speaking their minds–even if it meant standing up against one of their own. Which they did frequently, especially between the branches of the family (the Hyde Park versus the Oyster Bay brood) and these even fell along party lines: Democrat and Republican, respectively.
My excitement for the last two parts is bittersweet, as I’m looking forward to the tidbits of trivia I’ll collect, but then it will be over. However, there are plenty other Ken Burns projects to look forward to and many more coming in the future. For now, I’ll settle in with Eleanor, Franklin, and Theodore, and take their ideals to heart.