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L.A. Times Story on Historical Accuracy of ‘Lincoln’

Is ‘Lincoln’ the real deal?

‘This comes closer to reality,’ says Lincoln biographer James McPherson after seeing Steven Spielberg’s biopic. McPherson and other historians helped Spielberg and screenwriter Tony Kushner to flesh out the man and his times.

Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” is a historical biopic more concerned with depicting the 16th president’s log-rolling politics than his log-splitting childhood.

“Lincoln,” one of many high-profile films this season based on real events, has been warmly embraced by critics and audiences. But there’s another group whose opinion matters — historians.

“There have been other movies about Lincoln,” said James McPherson, a Civil War historian, Lincoln biographer and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Battle Cry of Freedom,” in a recent interview after seeing the film. “They tended to reflect a romanticized Lincoln, almost a mythologized Lincoln. This comes closer to reality. This shows Lincoln’s exhaustion, his gauntness — and his storytelling.” 

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