Monthly Archives: July 2012

Harold Holzer spotlighted in New York Times

The prolific Lincoln author was the subject of a profile published Sunday:

Mr. Holzer, who uses summer vacations to research and weekends to write, has been hooked on Lincoln for over a half-century, ever since a composition assignment in the fifth grade found him randomly picking the president’s name from a hat. His buddy picked Genghis Khan and eventually became a rock ’n’ roll promoter. (“Whatever you are, be a good one” is bromide advice attributed to Lincoln.)

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Filed under Lincoln Historiography

Yet another new Lincoln document turns up

This time it’s a brief authorization for a prisoner discharge, from the Royal Oak Historical Society Museum in Michigan.

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Filed under Lincoln Updates, Lincoln's Writings

Carpenter’s Lincoln

The Civil War Sesquicentennial blog of The New York Times has an interesting post on Francis Carpenter and Lincoln.  Carpenter stayed at the White House while working on his painting of Lincoln reading the Emancipation Proclamation to members of his cabinet.  The painting itself got mixed reviews, but Carpenter’s book about the time he spent in the Executive Mansion has been a gold mine for historians.

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What does Lincoln have to do with Batman?

Jerry Bowyer argues that the Great Emancipator and the Caped Crusader are linked by a willingness to take extreme measures in times of crisis:

The parallel with Lincoln comes from the idea of bending the law in order to preserve its spirit. During the Civil War Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus to preserve the Union, and people argue to this day about the constitutionality of this action (even though the Constitution clearly allows for the suspension of habeas corpus in times of “rebellion or invasion,” and one would think that half the country taking up arms against the other meets that threshold). It was, like the very existence of Batman, a temporary measure in response to a crisis, not a long-term solution. The same goes for Batman’s lie about Harvey Dent, whose two faces amusingly—but probably unintentionally—echo Lincoln’s famous rejoinder “If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?”

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Filed under Lincoln and Memory, Lincoln as President

Lincoln movie updates

Steven Spielberg’s long-awaited Lincoln movie finally has a release date.  It will open in select theaters on November 9th and in theaters everywhere one week later.

Spielberg isn’t the only filmmaker who’s working on a Lincoln project.  Acclaimed director Terrence Malick is producing a film about Lincoln’s early years.  Diane Kruger broke the news when she told an interviewer that she’ll be playing Sarah Bush Johnston Lincoln.

Finally, a television film based on the book Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard is in the works.  Produced by the same filmmakers who made last year’s Emmy-winning documentary Gettysburg, it will star Billy Campbell as Lincoln and will air on the National Geographic Channel in 2013.

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Filed under Lincoln and Memory, Lincoln Updates

The Chicago Tribune on Lincoln’s legacy

Kevin Nance offers some thoughts on our ongoing fascination with Lincoln.  He suggests that the current Lincoln craze in pop culture owes a lot to the election of our first African-American president.

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Filed under Lincoln and Memory

“The key thing is what he did”

Stephen Carter, a professor at Yale Law and author of the new alternate history novel The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln, shared some observations on Lincoln’s restrictions of civil liberties and his racial attitudes for a recent article:

“My admiration for Lincoln is undiminished, in part because I don’t try to judge him by the standards of the 21st century,” Carter says. “He was not above telling the occasional racial joke, and he made it very clear more than once, leading up to the Civil War, that he thought black people were, as a group, inferior to white people. What’s striking about Lincoln isn’t so much that he was originally trapped in the racial attitudes of his day but, rather, that he was able to do so much to transcend those attitudes as time went on. He went on quite an intellectual and, I suppose one could say, moral journey over those years in the White House, and evolved enormously. But the key thing is what he did, not why he did it.”

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Filed under Lincoln and Memory, Lincoln as President