Abstract

These four essays critique Ken Burns's PBS documentary series The National Parks: America's Best Idea. Burns has over the last several decades established himself as the central producer of PBS multi-part documentaries, addressing such topics as the Civil War, baseball, jazz, and World War II. National Park Service (NPS) leadership recognized the promotional opportunities for the NPS and aligned themselves closely with Burns and PBS. Critical discussion in the essays focuses in three areas: the treatment of Native Americans; the reverential treatment of “nature” in the national parks, and the distorted focus on the natural park in the West as the embodiment of the National Park system.

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