Vivid storytelling animates Ken Burns’s ‘The Roosevelts’

September 12, 2014 11:17 PM

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Vivid storytelling animates Ken Burns’s ‘The Roosevelts’

Lately it’s been a good time for American political dynasties: 12 Bush years, with maybe four or eight more to come (hello, Jeb); eight Clinton years, with maybe four or eight more of them, too (hello, Hillary). But never has there been a better time for American political dynasties than the first 45 years of the 20th century, when one family held the White House for 19 years. That family, the Roosevelts, is surely the greatest of all American political dynasties. The Adamses and Rockefellers and Tafts and Kennedys (various of whom battled with, worked for, or cultivated various Roosevelts)? They’re the junior varsity.

Ken Burns’s “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History” starts Sunday night on Channel 2 and runs through the following Saturday. Burns’s documentaries have tended to be sweeping epics — “The Civil War”; “Baseball”; “Jazz”; “The War,” on World War II; “The National Parks” — or shorter biographical films, ...

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