ken burns

Read Our Books Starring in New Fall TV, Streaming Series and Films

This year’s fall television and streaming season is upon us, with a number of new shows, series and films based on books published by Penguin Random House imprints, as well as two new books of ours based on the programming itself. The following viewers and readers guide shines the spotlight on this diverse selection:

“THE VIETNAM WAR” Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s ten-part, 18-hour PBS-TV documentary series, THE VIETNAM WAR, tells the epic story of one of the most consequential, divisive, and controversial events in American history as it has never before been fully presented on film. THE VIETNAM WAR: An Intimate History by Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns is the expansive, richly illustrated Knopf book based on the series. Ten years in the making, the series includes rarely seen and digitally re-mastered archival footage from sources around the globe, photographs taken by some of the most celebrated photojournalists of the 20th Century, historic television broadcasts, evocative home movies, and secret audio recordings from inside the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations. The book, which serves as a companion to the series, plunges us into the chaos and intensity of combat, even as it explains the rationale that got us into Vietnam and kept us there for so many years. Rather than taking sides, the book and series seek to understand why the war happened the way it did, and to clarify its complicated legacy. Airing throughout September on PBS television stations, the series is also streaming on PBS apps.   “OUTLANDER” The third season of the highly-rated Starz adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s multi-million-bestselling Outlander series focuses primarily on the third book in the series, VOYAGER (Dell), continuing the story of Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser. Two decades before, Claire had traveled back in time and into the arms of Jamie, a gallant eighteenth-century Scot. Then she returned to her own century to bear his child, believing him dead in the tragic battle of Culloden. Yet his memory has never lessened its hold on her. When Claire discovers that Jamie has survived, she is torn between returning to him and staying with their daughter in her own era. The third season premiered on Starz September 10, with new episodes airing weekly into the fall.   “OUR SOULS AT NIGHT” The Netflix adaptation of Ken Haruf’s novel, OUR SOULS AT NIGHT (Knopf/Vintage), reunites Oscar-winners Robert Redford and Jane Fonda for the fourth time. Addie (Fonda) and Louis (Redford), long-widowed, empty nesters, come to know each other better and discover a second chance at love in the small community of Holt, Colorado. The film, which has received positive reviews, is also enjoying a concurrent brief run in select theaters. Premieres on Netflix, September 29   “LORE” Aaron Mahnke’s THE WORLD OF LORE: Monstrous Creatures (Del Rey) is the basis for a new Amazon horror anthology. Spread across six episodes, the series explores the disturbing history behind a number of horror-tinged myths. In his book, Mahnke, the host of the hit podcast Lore, serves as a guide on a fascinating journey through the history of terrifying creatures. In a world of “emotional vampires” and “zombie malls,” the monsters of folklore have become both a part of our language and a part of our collective psyche. Of note, Mahnke invites readers to the desolate Pine Barrens of New Jersey, where the notorious winged, red-eyed Jersey Devil dwells. Premieres on Amazon Prime, October 13   “JOAN DIDION: The Center Will Not Hold” joandidion Across more than fifty years of essays, novels, and criticism, Joan Didion has chronicled the changing tides of American culture and politics – often in deeply personal ways. This upcoming documentary, JOAN DIDION: The Center Will Not Hold, directed by Didion’s nephew Griffin Dunne, is primarily based on SOUTH AND WEST: From a Notebook (Knopf), in which Didion presents excerpts from two notebooks. In one, she traces a road trip she took with her late husband, John Gregory Dunne, in June 1970, through Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. She interviews prominent local figures, describes motels, diners, a deserted reptile farm, a visit with Walker Percy, a ladies' brunch at the Mississippi Broadcasters' Convention. A different notebook, the "California Notes," began as an assignment from Rolling Stone on the Patty Hearst trial of 1976. Though Didion never wrote the piece, watching the trial and being in San Francisco triggered thoughts about the city, its social hierarchy, the Hearsts, and her own upbringing in Sacramento. Dunne’s documentary, which debuts next month as part of the New York Film Festival, intersperses archival footage alongside his interviews with his Aunt Joan, delving into her extraordinary body of work and its impact on our cultural landscape. Of note: footage of Didion partying with Janis Joplin in a house full of L.A. rockers in the ‘60s; hanging out in a recording studio with Jim Morrison of The Doors; and cooking dinner for one of Charles Manson’s followers for a magazine story. Debuts at The New York Film Festival, with screenings on October 11, 12 and 14; and then premieres on Netflix, October 27   “ALIAS GRACE” On the heels of the success of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, based on Margaret Atwoods novel of the same name and winner of six Emmy Awards, our author’s work is a hot property in Hollywood. Expectations are high for Alias Grace, an adaptation Atwood’s ALIAS GRACE: A Novel (Anchor). In the book, it is 1843, and Grace Marks has been convicted for her involvement in the vicious murders of her employer and his housekeeper and mistress. Some believe Grace is innocent; others think her evil or insane. Now serving a life sentence, Grace claims to have no memory of the murders. An up-and-coming expert in the burgeoning field of mental illness is engaged by a group of reformers and spiritualists who seek a pardon for Grace. He listens to her story while bringing her closer and closer to the day she cannot remember. What will he find in attempting to unlock her memories? Produced by Netflix and Canada’s CBC, the six-part series will tell the story of Marks and delves deeply into this twisty tale. Premieres on Netflix, November 3   “THE LONG ROAD HOME” Based on ABC News reporter and author Martha Raddatz’s searing nonfiction book, THE LONG ROAD HOME: A Story of War and Family (Berkley), this National Geographic series recounts, across eight episodes, the harrowing story of The First Cavalry Division, which suffered a surprise attack on the streets of Sadr City, a district of Baghdad, on April 4, 2004. The series, like the book, will chronicle the events of the attack through the eyes of the soldiers who lived it. Premieres on the National Geographic Channel, November 7   “THE CROWN” Season two of Netflix’s critically acclaimed and Emmy Award-winning series, The Crown, is expected to wade into darker territory. There will be more emphasis on the complexities of Elizabeth’s (Claire Foy) marriage to Prince Philip (Matt Smith) while also delving into Philip’s backstory – one that is both extraordinary and tragic. THE CROWN: The Official Companion, Volume 1: Elizabeth II, Winston Churchill, and the Making of a Young Queen (1947-1955) (Crown Archetype) was written by the show’s historical consultant and royal biographer, Robert Lacey. The book is filled with beautifully reproduced archival photos and show stills, adding expert and in-depth detail to the events of the series, painting an intimate portrait of life inside Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing Street. A wonderful holiday gift for THE CROWN fan in your life. Premieres on Netflix, December 8

There’s a Book for That: The Vietnam War

This week PBS viewers have been captivated by Ken Burns’ and Lynn Novick’s 10-episode, 18-hour, documentary series, “The Vietnam War” which concludes on September 28th. Six years in the making, written by Geoffrey C. Ward and narrated by Peter Coyote, the series tells the epic story of one of the most controversial and divisive events in American history like never before and “explores the human dimensions of the war through revelatory testimony of nearly 80 witnesses from all sides.” ( The official companion book and audiobook to “The Vietnam War” are now available from Penguin Random House along with other excellent titles – including reportage and reporters featured in the series –  all of which broaden our understanding of this seminal event in our history.

  FEATURED TITLES:   The Vietnam War by Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken BurnsTHE VIETNAM WAR: AN INTIMATE HISTORY by Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns From the award-winning historian and filmmakers of The Civil War, Baseball, The War, The Roosevelts, and others: a vivid, uniquely powerful history of the conflict that tore America apart–the companion volume to the major, multipart PBS film to be aired in September 2017. THE VIETNAM WAR audiobook is narrated by Ken Burns, Brian Corrigan and Fred Sanders.   The Vietnam War by DK THE VIETNAM WAR: THE DEFINITIVE ILLUSTRATED HISTORY (DK) Created in association with the Smithsonian Institution, this authoritative guide chronicles America’s fight against Communism in southeast Asia during the 1960s and 1970s, and comprehensively explores the people, politics, events, and lasting effects of the Vietnam War.   Embers of War by Fredrik LogevallEMBERS OF WAR: THE FALL OF AN EMPIRE AND THE MAKING OF AMERICA’S VIETNAM by Fredrik Logevall WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE Written with the style of a great novelist and the intrigue of a Cold War thriller, Fredrik Logevall traces the path that led two Western nations to tragically lose their way in the jungles of Southeast Asia.   Marine Sniper by Charles HendersonMARINE SNIPER by Charles Henderson The explosive true story of Sergeant Carlos Hathcock, a legendary Marine sniper in the Vietnam War.       The Girl in the Picture by Denise ChongTHE GIRL IN THE PICTURE: THE STORY OF KIM PHUC, THE PHOTOGRAPH, AND THE VIETNAM WAR by Denise Chong On June 8, 1972, nine-year-old Kim Phuc, severely burned by napalm, ran from her blazing village in South Vietnam and into the eye of history. Her photograph-one of the most unforgettable images of the twentieth century-was seen around the world and helped turn public opinion against the Vietnam War. This book is the story of how that photograph came to be-and the story of what happened to that girl after the camera shutter closed.   The Best and the Brightest by David HalberstamTHE BEST AND THE BRIGHTEST by David Halberstam “[The] most comprehensive saga of how America became involved in Vietnam. It is also the Iliad of the American empire and the Odyssey of this nation’s search for its idealistic soul.”– The Boston Globe     Vietnam by Stanley Karnow VIETNAM: A HISTORY by Stanley Karnow “A landmark work.” -The Washington Post Book World This monumental narrative clarifies, analyzes, and demystifies the tragic ordeal of the Vietnam war. Free of ideological bias, profound in its understanding, and compassionate in its human portrayals, it is filled with fresh revelations drawn from secret documents and from exclusive interviews with participants.   Last Night I Dreamed of Peace by Dang Thuy TramLAST NIGHT I DREAMED OF PEACE by Dan Thuy Tram Brutally honest and rich in detail, this posthumously published diary of a twenty-seven-year-old Vietcong woman doctor, saved from destruction by an American soldier, gives us fresh insight into the lives of those fighting on the other side of the Vietnam War.     A Bright Shining Lie by Neil Sheehan A BRIGHT SHINING LIE: JOHN PAUL VANN AND AMERICA IN VIETNAM by Neil Sheehan Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. When he came to Vietnam in 1962, Lieutenant Colonel John Paul Vann was the one clear-sighted participant in an enterprise riddled with arrogance and self-deception, a charismatic soldier who put his life and career on the line in an attempt to convince his superiors that the war should be fought another way.   When Heaven and Earth Changed Places by Le Ly Hayslip and Jay WurtsWHEN HEAVEN AND EARTH CHANGED PLACES by Le Ly Hayslip Le Ly Hayslip’s searing account of the Vietnam War: just twelve years old when fighting broke out in her village, Le Ly was recruited as by the Viet Cong as a lookout, enduring years at the brutal heart of the conflict before undertaking a courageous path to recovery and triumph. With a new afterword by the author.   The Vietnam Reader by   THE VIETNAM READER: THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION OF FICTION AND NONFICTION ON THE WAR by Stewart O’Nan An extraordinary selection of the finest and best-known art from the American war in Vietnam, from Tim O’Brien to Marvin Gaye, from mainstream bestsellers to radical poetry.     The 1964 Election and Its Aftermath by Robert S. McNamaraVINTAGE SHORTS ON VIETNAM The Vintage Shorts series presents timely reading from enduring classics as well as exciting original works from contemporary voices—exclusively available as eBooks. The Vietnam series features 10 e-titles from authors such as Bao Ninh and Tobias Wolff.     FOR YOUNGER READERS   DK Eyewitness Books: Vietnam War by DKDK EYEWITNESS BOOKS: VIETNAM WAR; Ages 8 to 12 A visual and informative guide to one of the longest and most controversial wars in American history, now revised and updated in the relaunched DK Eyewitness Books format.     For more on these and related titles, visit the collection: Vietnam War  

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