American Experience (1988– )
8 user 2 critic

Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided Part 1 - Ambition 


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Episode credited cast:
Abraham Lincoln (voice)
Mary Lincoln (voice)
David McCullough ...
Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jean Harvey Baker ...
David Herbert Donald ...
Herself (interviewee)
Union Infantryman (as Kevin Hershberger)
David E. Long ...
Donald Miller ...
Mary Genevieve Murphy ...
Mark E. Neely Jr. ...
Union Infantryman (as Timothy Smith)
Charles B. Strozier ...
Linda Levitt Turner ...


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Official Sites:



Release Date:

19 February 2001 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Marital Biography
12 August 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This excellent program is really two biographies in one. We get side by side biographies of both Lincoln and Mary. Both of these biographies are then put into context of their societies and the politics and ultimately the war that had an impact on everyone's life and broken families... Just when things seem to be settling down, there is a visit from Mary's confederate half sister.

The pace is methodical, which some might find slow, but it has a real payoff in the moments when we can really savor the richness of Lincoln's words and the choices he makes in the moment. Holly Hunter was a really poor choice for Mary's voice, her lateral lisp is too distracting for voice-over work, and her choice of breathy delivery was off putting. She's a fine actress, just a poor choice for voice-over work, and wrong for this role. A "name" is not always a good solution for a difficult voice casting choice. David McCullough's narration is seamless, as usual, Mr. Morse as the voice of Lincoln really fit perfectly - his voice seemed to be Lincoln and it was "unnoticable" and that is great vocal casting.

The variety of historians is the highlight here, they create a great window - from the Mary Lincoln historian who breathlessly relates Mary's side of things, to the writer who talks about Lincoln's choices as a writer, to the African American historians, one who thinks Lincoln didn't do enough, the other who appreciates that Lincoln evolved and had a good sense of how much and where he could push.

An excellent series, it would make an excellent gift for repeated viewings.

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