The truth about ‘The Lincoln Assassination’

Every child knows that out 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, was assassinated, but not all the details and the details may become blurry after watching movies about the assassination plot and Lincoln himself.

To clear up those little fictions created by literary license in movies like “Lincoln” and “The Conspirator” you can watch documentaries such as “The Lincoln Assassination” on Netflix.

This 1995 documentary “The Lincoln Assassination” weighs in on the conspiracy. Director Laura Verklan paces this two-part documentary well and we get the talking heads, experts like who weigh in on the events such as historians James O. Hall, Linda Levitt Turner, John K. Lattimer and Harold Holzer. We also get to hear from some of the relatives of the conspirators such as Dr. Samuel Mudd’s granddaughter, Louise Mudd Arehart, and Richard D. Mudd, Mudd’s grandson and Lois Rathbun, John Wilkes Booth great-great-grandniece.

Part I is about Lincoln’s presidential candidacy and the Civil War and ends with the days just prior to his attending the performance at Ford Theater. Part II is about the assassination, the conspiracy and the hunt for the conspirators.

Hall was an amateur historian who focuses on the assassination of Lincoln. Hall passed away in 2007, but was well-regarded in the field and wrote several books including “The Surratt Family and John Wilkes Booth.”

Linda Levitt Turner wrote the 1987 “Mary Todd Lincoln: Her Life and Letters” with Justin G. Turner.

John K. Lattimer wrote the 1980 “Lincoln and Kennedy: Medical and Ballistic Comparisons of their Assassinations.”  Lattimer is a urologist who examined the medical evidence on the assassination. The Kennedy family selected Lattimer to investigate Kennedy’s autopsy in 1972. He died in 2007.

Harold Holzer wrote “Emancipating Lincoln: The Proclamation in Text, Context and Memory” and “Lincoln President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter 1860-1861.” Holzer was the “content consultant” on Spielberg’s movie “Lincoln.”

If you’re up on history, this documentary won’t offer you anything new. However, it might help to see this after any of the Lincoln films to re-affirm what was actually is fact and separate out movie-fiction and you get the added anecdotal information from the families connected with the people who were labeled conspirators.

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