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Ken Burns
A Civil War road trip
A Civil War road trip

Ken Burns, whose landmark documentary on the Civil War established him as one of its quintessential authorities, thinks there's no better way to get a sense of the Civil War than to visit its battlefields, museums and national parks. "When we go to Civil War sites, we're making ourselves available to the ghosts and echoes of … the past," Burns said. "That's what we look for when we stand on Seminary Ridge or Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg [Pa.] and think about the two great armies that collided there on July 1, 2 and 3 of 1863. That extends to every battlefield and applies to everyone — Native Americans, people whose ancestors came over on the...