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'The National Parks': Ken Burns' WORST idea

All you really need to know about Ken Burns' newest marathon documentary you can learn from the title: Parks  The National Parks: America's Best Idea. Really, the best? Better than the polio vaccine, air conditioning, the Internet, the airplane, liberal democracy, rock 'n' roll, bourbon and the abolition of slavery? Better than toilet paper?

Unfortunately, The National Parks -- an exhausting and overwrought series airing for a total of 12 hours over the next six nights -- is full of such ill-considered hyperbole, to the point that it feels less like a documentary than a recruiting film for a druidic cult.

At various points during the first two hours (which, frankly, was all I could bear to watch), Burns' documentary refers to the national parks system as the basis for American democracy, the foundation of human DNA and God's only earthly refuge from rampaging sin and Satanism.

In fact, it barely stops short of demanding a loyalty oath to national parks. Read my full reviews of The National Parks: America's Best Idea and The Story of Florida's State Parks in Sunday's Miami Herald.


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Oh, please. Speaking of "ill-considered hyperbole." First off, look up the origins of democracy and the history of abolition - they were hardly invented on US soil. The British beat you to the second point by several decades, and the first was an evolutionary process spanning millennia, not a spontaneous eruption in 1776. Second, it should be clear that "America's best idea" refers to government-sponsored efforts, not individuals' inventions like air con. Are you deliberately misunderstanding so you have something to rage about? Seriously, I'm puzzled by the vitriol.

Lauren Lane

I think the National Forests and all of Nature should be preserved, especially in areas where the building has gone out of control. We need some trees and "green" stuff around...or we will go totally mad.


I just finished watching the series and was absolutely enchanted every night. The series was practically a love story to America. This was definitely one of Ken Burn's best. Unfortunately, Glen Garvin cant see beyond the ideology in his bitter pea sized brain. Garvin, your'e a complete jerk!

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