‘The Roosevelts’ goes in-depth with an extraordinary American family

September 12, 2014 11:01 PM

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That’s the advice Theodore Roosevelt Sr. gave his asthma-ridden namesake son. Loose translation: Stay busy. The boy would heed the words, get the better of his illness and become one of the most energetic presidents in American history. His favorite niece, Eleanor, and his fifth cousin, Franklin, put their stamp on the country as well.

Ken Burns knows something about staying busy. His new 14-hour series, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, premieres Sunday and runs through Saturday on PBS. He answers the phone in his New Hampshire editing studio, where he’s overseeing production of his similarly extensive Vietnam War series, sche...

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