The Problem With CNN’s Lincoln DocumentaryRoundup
tags: Civil War, Abraham Lincoln, documentaries
Kevin M. Levin is an award-winning educator and historian based in Boston, Massachusetts, and the author of Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth.
If it weren’t for having to work on taxes last night I probably wouldn’t have caught a single episode of CNN’s new documentary about Abraham Lincoln, called “Divided We Stand.” Last night’s episode focused on the first half of the war. It included a focused look at the impact of Willie’s death on his parents and the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. I was quickly underwhelmed.
I was very encouraged by the number of talented historians that were employed for this documentary, but the way in which they are utilized is problematic. The film moves from person to person for what amounts, in most cases, to only a few words. These fragments are strung together to form a coherent narrative. I found the constant back and forth distracting.