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CNN Docuseries, 'Lincoln: Divided We Stand,' Offers a New Look at the President
February 14, 2021  | By Mike Hughes  | 1 comment
 


We've heard plenty about evil stepmothers, so let's hear the flip side – the good stepmother who helped shape the man who preserved the Union.

That's one of the stories in Lincoln: Divided We Stand, a six-part docuseries on CNN, at 10 p.m. ET, Sunday.

Abe Lincoln had a hardscrabble childhood in Kentucky and then Indiana, hitting bottom when he was 9. His mother died, and his father decided he couldn't raise the kids alone. Leaving Abe and his sister in their cold cabin, he rode back to Kentucky and asked a family friend to marry him.

Sarah Bush Johnson – whose husband, a jailer, had died – said yes. She arrived with three children, some cookware, and a collection of books, which Lincoln promptly gravitated to.

Yes, he would grow to be 6-foot-4 and muscular, known for his brief time as a rail-splitter. But Lincoln actually hated farmwork; he wanted to read, write, and tell stories.

With a father who disapproved of reading; Abe totaled about one year of education. But he became a self-taught lawyer who also gave powerful speeches opposing slavery.

He was not yet The Great Emancipator; his idea was to ship slaves back to Africa. But he was a skilled speaker who mixed passion and humor: When one heckler accused him of being two-faced, Lincoln reportedly asked (approximately), "If I had another face, do you think I'd wear this one?"

He managed to fail upwards. After one term in Congress, he was passed over for a presidential appointment and went home to Illinois. He ran for U.S. Senate against Stephen Douglas and lost but drew national attention from accounts of the famed Lincoln-Douglas debates. Two years later, in 1860, he would run for president, again facing Douglas.

All that happens in the first two hours of an excellent docuseries, narrated by Sterling K. Brown. There are four more hours ahead, with a Union to preserve.

 
 
 
 
 
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1 Comments
 
 
Geo. Stewart
After watching Sunday’s debut episode, I was very disappointed in CNN’s superficial “documentary” which puts style over substance, rapid editing over context and brevity over insightfulness. For example, the numerous experts are introduced so quickly that their titles are impossible to read, playing on the supposition that no one really cares who they are or why we should be interested in their opinion. Just as annoying is the fact that very few of them are given the opportunity to finish a sentence before they cut away to another speaker to finish their thought for them. The only way to really watch the hour is to tape it due to the heavy commercial load that leaves less than 45 minutes of actual content. You will learn more from Mike Hughes’ review than you will from this “Classics Illustrated” time-waster.
Feb 15, 2021   |  Reply
 
 
 
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