According to author and historian Shelby Foote, any understanding of America has to be based in the Civil War, nearly the entirety of “the American character” was defined by it. For his part, Ken Burns agreed. When he began the nine part series, he had already made six films on American history – topics as diverse as the Statue of Liberty and Huey P. Long, the Shakers, and the Brooklyn Bridge. In all, he felt “the dark cloud” of America’s greatest conflict hanging over them. Continued after the jump.