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Thoughts on Lincoln (the film)

November 24, 2012

Some questions and thoughts on *Lincoln*—and beyond:

(1) I tried to authenticate the “compass” quote last night, but couldn’t find a source immediately (I didn’t try GoogleBooks, yet). Has anyone else found anything on it? Was it literary license?;

(2) Does anyone know whether Grant and Lincoln were really as close as the film portrayed them?

(3) I don’t know much about Lincoln’s sons, so I can’t comment on the portrayals of both, but I had no idea that one was a teenager who could have theoretically served;

(4) The film credits Goodwin’s book for the screen play, but I wonder how closely they followed each other;
(5) Why all this thinking and questioning about the film? Some would say I should be ashamed of this but, as a historian, I’ve deliberately avoided—as much as humanly and professionally possible—*all* study of the Civil War. I’ve only ever learned enough to teach the subject when needed. Why? Because there are so many casual Civil War history buffs that it has engendered a deep reaction against the subject. I deliberately welcomed the “you’re a historian and don’t care about the Civil War!?” reactions. I never desired to go tit-for-tat with the silly buffs. – TL
Updates: Check out Corey Robin’s long reflection here, and Aaron Bady’s here. Both aim for deeper analysis and criticism. – TL

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  1. Paul permalink

    Regarding your first question I’ve read that this passage is from Stephen B. Oates, “With Malice toward None”, I don’t know if this is true and I can’t give a more specific citation. Hope it helps.


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