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Five For The Diary: Books To Read Before Oscar Season
Prepare yourself for this year’s awards contenders

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Five For The Diary: Books To Read Before Oscar Season | 2. Team Of Rivals
2. Team Of Rivals

THE BOOK Team Of Rivals: The Political Genius Of Abraham Lincoln, by Doris Kearns Goodwin (2005)
THE FILM Lincoln, directed by Steven Spielberg

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE If we learned anything from Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, it’s that you can’t just canonise Lincoln and leave it at that. It’s important to dig into the mythology of America’s most beloved president, and that’s what historian Kearns Goodwin does here. Only, unlike Seth Grahame-Smith, she leaves out the undead and focuses on the political shenanigans that enabled Lincoln to do what he did for the country. This book concentrates on how Lincoln co-opted the support of his former rivals for the Republican presidential nomination (think Obama appointing Clinton as Head of State) and managed to finagle the lot to win the Civil War and bring about the abolition of slavery.

Steven Spielberg optioned the book a good four years before publication, having met with Goodwin back in 1999 when she was consulting on another project. For years this was envisaged as a Liam Neeson-starring vehicle; in the event, we’ll see Daniel Day-Lewis in the lead when the film arrives in the UK on January 25, in a cast that also includes (deep breath) Sally Field, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, David Strathairn, Tommy Lee Jones, Jackie Earle Haley, Lee Pace, Bruce McGill, John Hawkes, Hal Holbrook, Tim Blake Nelson, Gloria Reuben, Walter Goggins, James Spader and David Oyelowo. Let’s hope they all rival one another’s acting best, eh?

DO SAY “Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?”
DON'T SAY “Is this a sequel to Rivals? I didn’t know Jilly Cooper was working on one!”

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I'm not usually one to complain about these features, but no Cloud Atlas? More

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2 Quick Correction
Sal Paradise was Kerouac's alter ego in On the Road, Dean Moriarty was based upon his friend Neal Cassady. Although, you'll be pleased to hear that Burroughs and Ginsberg also have literary equivalents in the novel and I'm guessing, film. All three at once! More

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