Over time, Abraham Lincoln's status has risen to almost mythic proportions, but what's the real story behind the legend?




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Episode credited cast:
Himself - Narrator
Harold Holzer ...
Himself - Co-Chair, U.S. Lincoln Bicentennial
James MacPherson ...
Himself - Professor Emeritus, Princeton University
Michael Burlingame ...
Himself - Professor, University of Illinois at Springfield
Norbert Hirschhorn ...
Himself - Medical Historian & Poet
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
David Herzog
William Huw ...
Vice President Johnson
Iain Kitching ...


Over time, Abraham Lincoln's status has risen to almost mythic proportions, but what's the real story behind the legend?

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Release Date:

8 February 2010 (UK)  »

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User Reviews

Mildly interesting but far from a full portrait of the man.
26 May 2014 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

"Mystery Files" is a pretty good show. However, one serious problem many of the episodes have is the brevity of the show. With only a half hour time slot, too often MAJOR historical figures are given only a cursory examination. This is definitely the case with Abraham Lincoln. Still, apart from one probable myth that is promoted in the show, it does shed a slightly different look at the man--a great strength of this brief show.

The show's purpose seems to be two-fold. First, to try to determine what led to his views on the emancipation of blacks as well as equality. This definitely was an evolution, as early in life he showed little interest in these subjects--though later, partly as a result of life events, the program is able to show this change. Second, to try to show the viewer about the strength of character of the man. Despite some serious issues (such as lifelong depression), he was a strong, functional and effective president. However, here is where a probable myth is promoted--as the show goes to lengths about how the death of Lincoln's sweetheart, Ann Rutledge, impacted him. However, there really is little evidence that even had a relationship and historians are strongly divided on this subject. The bottom line is that definitive proof of any sort of relationship is lacking. But, even with this mistake (as they should have at least indicated that most historians doubt their relationship), the show is quite interesting and worth seeing.

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