IT'S not a pretty picture: The Civil War saw as many people killed as all American wars put together. In some places, the proportion of young men killed was quite high: Parts of the South essentially lost a generation.
But the huge number of deaths, and the need to count the fallen, bury them, contact loved ones -- and to make moral/ spiritual sense of it all -- remade this country, says Ric Burns, whose documentary, Death and the Civil War, goes up next week on PBS's American Experience.
He's working from a book by historian Drew Gilpin Faust called This Republic of Suffering, which is a model of accessible but rigorous history.
Read about the doc is my LA Times story here.
I liked Ric a lot and found him quite passionate about his subject in an unforced way.