Exquisite....finally, a show that is true to who the great man really was...
As a retired American history teacher, I was practically orgasmic as I watched this wonderful documentary from Henry Louis Gates. It's because the film was NOT yet another glossy documentary of Lincoln but a real examination of who Lincoln really was--the man behind the myth. I loved this film, as it sought many, many different sources and authorities to create a much more realistic portrait of the man---and it took a ton of work to complete this. Gone was the much bigger than life Lincoln--and that's a good thing, as no man is that wonderful and that pure. Instead, you see him warts and all--who he was and the context for this. And so, at times, they examine Lincoln in the context of both the 19th century and today. A few of the amazingly interesting things in the show include:
A wonderful quote from a Lincoln biographer--"It's not Lincoln's fault he was mythologized..." How he did NOT free the slaves--as his Emancipation Proclamation was largely symbolic.
It was pretty even-handed--and Gates interviews both George W. Bush and Clinton as well as historians who were NOT in agreement. Another great example was when Gates visited with descendents of Confederate veterans to hear what they thought of Lincoln as well as to show these folks were NOT a bunch of dumb rednecks (this portion was amazingly restrained, actually).
Overall, it's a brilliant piece of film work. Unlike anything I've seen before--and in a very good and original way.
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