The opening strains of The Civil War, Ashokan Farewell, are haunting, even over twenty-five years later. The Civil War was the most destructive war in American history. Burns does a yeoman's job of presenting the causes leading up to the war, the war itself, and its lasting aftermath. It's long, but it needs to be. There is no fat, no excess, really. It's just long because there is so much material to cover. Like the World at War series for the Second World War, this is the definitive work on the Civil War. One final note: not one recreation of battle scenes is used in the series. No characters speaking for the players, nobody dressed up in uniforms acting out battles. It's just spoken words, combined with brilliant photography. This is one that I rewatch from time to time, when I have a long stretch of down time. Unlike in 1990, you can actually pause this, or even rewind to catch things you missed the first time.