Death and the Civil War: American Experience

This week “American Experience” presents, “Death and the Civil War” from filmmaker Ric Burns.  This type of program is why  “American Experience” is my favorite series.  In “Death and the Civil War” Burns explores an essential but rarely explored aspect of the Civil War.

The Civil War resulted in staggering numbers of casualties.  Sadly in today’s world we know the deadly outcome of war, but in the 1860′s death entered the psyche of the American people as it never had before.  The work of contending with death on an unprecedented scale propelled extraordinary changes in the inner and outer life of Americans.  In past conflicts America had never had to answer to the families in such a way as was presented during the Civil War.  When one battle would claim over 23,000 casualties how does the military complex of the day respond?  These were challenges for which there were no ready answers when the war began.  As Americans always have, they rose to the challenges to improvise new solutions, new institutions, new ways of coping with death on an unimaginable scale.  Not an easy subject but the efforts put forth in the 1860′s gives us comfort in 2012.

“Death and the Civil War: American Experience” airs Tuesday, September 18 at 8pm on WOSU TV, with an encore presentation Wednesday, September 19 at 8pm on WOSU PLUS.

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