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History Channel To Air In-Depth Lincoln Bio

January 11th, 2006 3:03pm EST
Abe LincolnEvery American knows Abraham Lincoln as the emancipator of slaves, the man who held America together in its darkest days, and one of the country’s most mythic figures. But few know the Lincoln who battled suicidal urges and at times called himself “The loneliest man in the world.” Academy Award-winning producer Vikram Jayanti goes inside a life scarred by loss, a mind ravaged by tragedy, a man whose grand achievements were fueled by his own personal turmoil, in The History Channel special presentation LINCOLN, airing Monday, January 16th 2006 at 8-11pm ET/PT.

Born in the back woods of Kentucky in 1809, Abraham Lincoln witnessed the deaths of his infant brother, his mother, and his grandparents before the age of ten. He was raised by an abusive father who didn’t support Abraham’s desire for an education and a better life. One biographer calls it “almost farcical” how many awful things happened to Lincoln at a young age. While forging a legacy of success as a lawyer and politician later in life, Lincoln was haunted by the trauma of childhood, prone to depression brought about by self-doubt and personal crises. LINCOLN delves into personal diaries and family histories, and consults with the foremost Lincoln biographers in the world to draw a complete personal portrait of the sixteenth President, asserting that the amazing strength that enabled his greatest accomplishments was a result of decades spent battling and overcoming his own personal demons.

LINCOLN taps into biographers and authors Gore Vidal, Jan Morris, Harold Holzer, Jay Winik, Josh Shenk, Douglas Wilson, and others for anecdotes and insights. Andrew Solomon, author of the book The Noonday Demon, offers raw and authoritative commentary on the workings of the depressed mind. The result is a special that gives more attention to the personal travails of Abraham Lincoln than any before it, and in the process offers an even greater appreciation of what a special achievement his life truly was.

"Lincoln" is A Fascinating Exploration of a U.S. President Whose Greatest War Took Place Within Himself. Highlights include:
• Dramatic re-creations of some of the seminal events in Lincoln’s personal life, shot through Lincoln’s eyes and showing cinematically-driven portrayals of his psychological anguish. These events include dreaming of his own assassination just days before it happened; the memory of a childhood friend gone mad; visiting and opening the tomb of his dead son; episodes in dealing with a wife who many presume to have been manic depressive; and carrying the guilt of more than 600,000 casualties and national political pressure during the Civil War.
• A thorough retelling of Lincoln’s personal and professional life, full of funny, endearing, and heartbreaking tales along the way told by many of the authors who know Lincoln best.
• Examinations of the key personal relationships in Lincoln’s life and what insights they offer into his mindset, including his close friendship with Joshua Speed, who some believe may have been his lover; his early romance with Anne Rutledge, whose death sent him into a suicidal tailspin; and the quandary between his love for Matilda Edwards and his impending marriage to Mary Todd, another situation that drove him to despair.
• Snippets and dissection of Lincoln’s greatest public speeches, including the launch of his national political campaign in New York, the Gettysburg Address, and his second inaugural speech.
• A somber portrayal of Lincoln’s assassination at Ford Theater, narrated by Gore Vidal, and a touching conclusion that places Lincoln’s public achievements in the context of the modern world, with opinions from experts on the effect his presidency still has on America today.

This not-to-be-missed special airs on The History Channel® Monday, January 16, 2006 at 8pm ET.

Win prizes with the Lincoln trivia game HERE.

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