Jazz And America

Geoffrey C. Ward, writer of a major new book and 19-hour
documentary (directed by Ken Burns) on the subject, discusses the joys and wonders of our native art form

Geoffrey C. Ward is no stranger to American Heritage, where he served as editor and later as a columnist. Born in Ohio, raised in Chicago and India, he reveals in all his work a singular generosity in assessing the achievements of American leaders, artists, and scoundrels, displaying an eye for the telling eccentricity and a fascination for the razor’s edge between myth and reality.Read more »

Learning To Like Baseball

WHAT HAPPENED when a historian largely indifferent to the subject set out to write the script for Ken Burns’s monumental new documentary

I’VE NEVER LIKED BASEBALL MUCH, IN part because my father has always loved it so. He has been a fan all his life, rooting first for the Cleveland Indians, who were the closest major leaguers to the small Ohio town in which he was raised, and then for the Chicago White Sox, heroes to at least half the city in which he and my mother raised my brother and sister and me.Read more »

“the Great Arrogance Of The Present Is To Forget The Intelligence Of The Past”

The maker of a fine new documentary on the Civil War tells how the medium of film can evoke the emotional reality of history

Ken Burns is no stranger to me. We first met in 1983 at a party that the historian David McCullough gave at the Yale Club to wish a happy hundredth birthday to the Brooklyn Bridge. If David had not introduced Ken to me as the maker of an acclaimed film about the bridge, I would have mistaken him for a high school student—perhaps the older brother of the infant he was holding in his arms. It was actually his daughter Sarah, and Burns was then thirty.Read more »