Lectures & Speaking Topics

The National Parks (“A Treasure House of Nature’s Superlatives”)
Burns discusses the great gift of our national parks. Here both “the immensity and the intimacy of time” merge, as we appreciate what the parks have added to our collective and individual spirit. Begins with a 13-minute clip (the intro to The National Parks: America’s Best Idea).
Sharing the American Experience
Ken Burns reminds the audience of the timeless lessons of history, and the enduring greatness and importance of the United States in the course of human events. Incorporating The Civil War, Baseball, and Jazz, Burns engages and celebrates what we share in common. No clips.
No Ordinary Lives
Drawing on some of Lincoln’s most stirring words as inspiration, this speech engages the paradox of war by following the powerful themes in two of Ken Burns’s best-known works: The Civil War, the epic retelling of the most important event in American history, and War, the intensely moving story of World War II as told through the experiences of so-called ordinary people from four geographically distributed American towns. Opens with Norah Jones’s five-minute “American Anthem” clip from The War.
American Lives
This talk combines the biographies of some of Ken’s most fascinating subjects, including Thomas Jefferson, Lewis and Clark, and Frank Lloyd Wright. Ken explains how biography works and gives insights into the storytelling process.
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