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Our America Ken Burns Book Review: A Journey Through America’s Photographic Past

Ken Burns, the mastermind behind some of the most iconic documentaries, has once again graced us with a masterpiece. This time, not through the medium of film, but through the pages of a book. “Our America: A Photographic History” is Burns’ curated collection of images that span nearly two centuries of American history. It’s a visual narrative that captures the essence of the American experience, from its iconic moments to its hidden corners.

Ken Burns is no stranger to the world of storytelling. With a filmmaking career that has delved deep into the annals of American history, Burns has a unique ability to bring the past to life. From the Civil War to Jazz, his documentaries have painted vivid pictures of America’s diverse tapestry.

Now, with “Our America”, Burns turns his discerning eye to the world of photography, offering readers a chance to see America in some of the most iconic pictures.

“Our America” – Ken Burns’s new photography book is more than a collection of photographs; it’s a profound exploration of American history. The book captures both monumental events and the mundane moments of daily life, presenting a tapestry of images that span from iconic landmarks to influential figures like Susan B. Anthony and the Central Park Five.

Our America: A Photographic History by Kenneth Burns

Print length: 352 pages
Publication date – 1 Nov. 2022

Burns’s connection to Walpole, where he moved in 1979 and established his renowned Florentine Films, has deeply influenced his approach to storytelling. “Our America” embodies this ethos, intertwining his filmmaking journey with a visual narrative of the nation’s past.

The photographs, while visually captivating, also serve as gateways to deeper stories. For instance, an image of a shack in Tennessee reveals its proximity to “Site X,” a uranium enrichment facility for the Manhattan Project.

Beyond the images, “Our America” is also a reflection of Burns himself, showcasing his dedication to presenting an honest portrayal of American history. The book, co-authored with his Florentine Films colleagues, emphasizes Burns’s belief in understanding our collective past to bridge our present-day divisions.

In essence, “Our America” offers both a tribute to the nation’s history and a testament to Ken Burns’s legacy as a documentary filmmaker. It’s an experience that encourages readers to engage with the past and draw connections to the present.

Alongside the captivating images and Burns’s introspective introduction, the book also features an insightful essay by Sarah Hermanson Meister, a longtime curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Meister’s expertise in the realm of photography adds depth to the narrative, offering readers a nuanced understanding of the images and their significance in the broader context of American history.

Our America Photographic History book by filmmaker Ken Burns

Photo by: Patrick Tomasso

Why You Should Get a Copy of “Our America: A Photographic History

Our America: A Photographic History by Kenneth Burns

If you have a passion for history, photography, or both, “Our America” is a must-have. It’s more than just a photography book or history of America; it’s an experience. If you are interested, I recommend you watch a short video – an introduction by Burns, where he explains the process that went into selecting the 250 images for the book.

Our America: A Photographic History by Kenneth Burns is currently available on Amazon in hardcover edition.

Amazon UK right now offers 28% off.
The hardcover is reduced from £62.90 to £44.96.

Amazon US has an even better deal = 50% off!!!
The book is on offer from $80 to $39.97!

Amazon USAAmazon UK

Wrapping It Up: Photographic History

“Our America: A Photographic History” is a testament to Ken Burns’ storytelling prowess. It’s a book that offers readers a chance to see America in a new light, through the eyes of one of its most astute observers. Whether you’re a history buff, a photography enthusiast, or someone looking to understand America’s complex tapestry, this book is a goldmine of insights and fantastic images.

For those inspired by Burn’s work and looking to delve deeper into the realm of photography, I invite you to explore our comprehensive Photography Books section. Here, you’ll find a curated collection of books that cater to every level of expertise, from the novice to the seasoned professional.

And if you’re eager to hone your skills and embark on your own photographic journey, consider enrolling in one of our Photography Courses. They are designed to equip you with the knowledge, techniques, and confidence to capture the world through your own unique lens.

Remember, every photograph tells a story. It’s up to you to capture it. Happy shooting!

Roland Pokrywka

Professional photographer passionate about capturing the beauty of nature, landscapes, and travel.