Nov 12, 201211:31 AMThe Telegraph

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Lincoln Log: What To Read And Watch

Nov 12, 2012 - 11:31 AM
Lincoln Log: What To Read And Watch

As moviegoers get ready for Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, featuring Daniel Day-Lewis as America’s 16th president (out in selected cities, opening Friday nationwide), C&I offers a roundup of other notable books and movies about the Great Emancipator.

 

Books

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, by Doris Kearns Goodwin

The primary source for Spielberg’s film, which covers the final four months of Lincoln’s life, was this 750-page biography by famed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. Her focus is on Lincoln the politician, and how he used his political skills to achieve his goals against sometimes-fervent opposition. The book also features fascinating biographical information on some of Lincoln’s cabinet members, including Edwin Stanton, Salmon Chase, Edward Bates and William H. Seward.

 

Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever, by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard

FOX News host Bill O’Reilly’s book (written with historian Martin Dugard) has been a bestseller for more than one year. A separate version geared toward younger readers, entitled Lincoln’s Last Days, is also available.

 

Abraham Lincoln, by James M. McPherson

For those seeking a quick refresher course before seeing the movie, James McPherson’s biography covers Lincoln’s life from his early years in Kentucky through his assassination in just 96 pages. It’s like Cliff’s Notes written by a Pulitzer Prize-winning author.

 

A. Lincoln: A Biography, by Ronald C. White, Jr.

Published in 2010, this is White’s third book on the 16th president. It has been hailed as one of the best single-volume Lincoln biographies, and draws from previously unknown sources, including letters, photographs and legal papers.

 

Lincoln: Speeches and Writings, by Abraham Lincoln

For an unfiltered exploration of Lincoln’s presidency and philosophy, this two-volume set collects all of his major speeches, hundreds of personal and political letters, his legendary debates with Stephen Douglas and even Civil War communications with Union Army generals.

 

Smithsonian Magazine, November 2012

The current issue of Smithsonian features a Lincoln cover story by Roy Blount, Jr. and interviews with Steven Spielberg, Doris Kearns Goodwin, and Lincoln screenwriter Tony Kushner. There’s also a special publication by Smithsonian available for purchase, Lincoln at 200, that contains more articles from the archives.

 

Film/Television

Abraham Lincoln (1930)

Legendary director D.W. Griffith (Birth of a Nation, Intolerance) did not make a smooth transition from the silent film era to talkies, but this Lincoln film biography starring Walter Huston has its moments.

 

Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940)

For decades, Raymond Massey’s performance and physical resemblance to his subject set the standard for film portrayals of Lincoln. Massey reprised the role 22 years later in How the West Was Won.

 

Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)
This John Ford classic features Henry Fonda as Lincoln during his pre-bearded years.

 

“The Savage Curtain”

One of Lincoln’s more unorthodox appearances was on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise in this bizarre episode of the original Star Trek. Lee Bergere plays the role and maintains the dignity of the character amidst bizarre circumstances.

 

Sandburg’s Lincoln (1974)

This six-part miniseries, based on Carl Sandburg’s famed biography, stars Hal Holbrook as Abraham Lincoln.

 

Gore Vidal’s Lincoln (1988)

A good comparison/companion piece to the Hal Holbrook miniseries, this TV movie features a memorable performance by Sam Waterston as Lincoln. However, Mary Tyler Moore was not an ideal casting choice as the president’s troubled wife, Mary Todd.

 

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)

Somehow, we suspect that the president’s proficiency in dispatching vampires with the swing of an axe is a tale that won’t make it into the Spielberg film. Benjamin Walker plays Lincoln in this history/horror hybrid that received better reviews than anyone expected.

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