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The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln 2009
Description: Just days after the Civil Fight ended, President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated at Ford's Theatre. As a fractured nation mourned, a manhunt closed in on his assassin, the twenty-six-year-old actor, John Wilkes Booth. The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln tracks the converging paths of the president and his killer, then tracks and draws connections between their last journeys, in the forms of Lincoln's funeral train route and Booth's desperate efforts to escape.
Released: 09 Feb 2009 Director: Barak Goodman Writers: Barak Goodman Actors: Will Patton, Guy Gane, Jason Roberts, Alexander Fedorchak Genres: Documentary, History
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The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln Reviews:

I don't know that there's so much that's fresh in this presentation but it gives the viewer the general picture with just enough feature to be convincing and colorful.We know, of course, that John Wilkes Booth climbed the stairs of Ford's Theater in Washington in April of 1865 and shot Lincoln through the head, killing him. "Now he belongs to the ages," told Secretary Stanton at the bedside. It's curious that one hundred and fifty years soon the tragedy is still so moving. At least for some of us. For others, Lincoln remains the hated tyrant.It's curious too that in murdering Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth effectively screwed up the reconstruction of his beloved South. Lincoln had intended that the Confederate states be welcomed back "as if they'd never left," or, as he place it in his second inaugural address, "with malice towards none and charity towards all." In Lincoln's place, the nation found itself with Andrew Johnson from Tennessee, a boy who thought that the South could be just what it was before the fight -- the Large House surrounded by cotton fields and slaves' quarters -- except that actually the slaves would be paid servants. Of course the failure of Reconstruction wasn't all Johnson's fault but it's likely that the process would have been better handled under Lincoln.Neither Booth, his supporters, or those who hailed him as a character had failed to ask themselves what we don't bother asking ourselves today. If you remove a "tyrant," who are you going to replace him with?


This episode of "The American Experience" is about the Lincoln assassination--the happenings leading to it, the killing and the aftermath. I was surprised, a bit, by this episode because I've seen few another documentaries on these happenings and "The American Experience" ver stuck much closer to the current facts. Very tiny supposition or talk of a more vast conspiracy were missing. For the most part, I appreciated this as some shows seem more interested in creating controversy than anything else--such as asking whether Secretary Stanton or guards were part of the plot (even though there really isn't any evidence of this). The only thing I want they had questioned was the guilt or innocence of Dr. Samuel Mudd--as MANY historians have questioned whether his life sentence in very harsh conditions in the Tortugas was merited as he MIGHT have been innocent and might not have known who Booth was when he patched him up that night. Perhaps this might create for a nice documentary by itself, as soon Mudd became a hero, of sorts, during an outbreak of some plague and earned his release.Aside from my questions about Mudd that were not discussed at all in the show, this is an outstanding episode of an outstanding series. Once again, PBS shows that their documentaries about America are simply the greatest you'll find. Well worth watching, thorough and interesting.By the way, one portion of the movie I really appreciated was talking about the 'Myth of Lincoln' following his death. He really was NOT a famous president and many hated him--yet when he became the first president assassinated, everyone suddenly thought he was among the very best boys in American history!



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