Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Kevin Feige:
My Movie Life

The Marvel supremo's pick of the flicks
Want To Be An Empire Journalist?
Find out how here
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

BOOK DETAILS
Released
25 January 2013
Author
David Rubel, with Laurent Bouzereall
Publisher

LATEST BOOK REVIEWS
Consumed
4 Star Empire Rating
Martin Scorsese: A Retrospective
5 Star Empire Rating
Anatomy Of An Actor: Tom Cruise
4 Star Empire Rating
Last Man Standing
4 Star Empire Rating
Joss Whedon: Geek King Of The Universe
5 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Martin Scorsese: A Retrospective
5 Star Empire Rating
Joss Whedon: Geek King Of The Universe
5 Star Empire Rating
Art Of John Alvin, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Making Of The Return Of The Jedi, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Terminator Vault
5 Star Empire Rating

Lincoln: A Cinematic and Historical Companion Rise of the Planet of the Abe


submit to reddit

Review
Were there any question about Steven Spielberg’s reverence for Abraham Lincoln, it should be put to rest by the fact that this ‘making of’ book lavishes over two-thirds of its pages on the film’s subject, his life and times. If this is hagiography, it’s not Spielberg it’s focused on — but in fact the book provides a relatively balanced view of the American President. Abraham Lincoln emerges from Steven Spielberg’s biopic as a complex, layered character: a mix of hero and clown, upright man and down-and-dirty politician, family man and man’s man. It’s an impressive distillation of the 16th President’s life, and David Rubel’s historical summary highlights just how much of the film is rooted in historical fact, and how subtly Tony Kushner’s script manages to convey a dense thicket of information. Rubel’s account is more wide-ranging, looking at how pre-Civil War tensions built between the States before sweeping through the War itself, and serves equally well as a primer for the film or a gap-filler after watching it. Photographs from the Civil War period, alongside quotations and extracts from first-hand accounts, bring the characters to life on the page. This doesn’t have the historical heft of, say, Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team Of Rivals, Spielberg’s inspiration for the film. But as a lavishly photographed companion-piece, the historical sections go much further than the usual cinema guide in setting the film within its context.
The ‘making of’ sections, by comparison, are more of a love-in. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Spielberg and his regular collaborators have nothing but praise for one another, their star or their subject, albeit eloquent and considered praise. Also unsurprising, but more disappointing, Daniel Day-Lewis doesn’t go on the record about his preparation and performance, and is more silent than Lincoln himself (Honest Abe is at least quoted). Still, there are fascinating titbits that reveal the filmmakers’ mania for authenticity: sound genius Ben Burtt tracked down Lincoln’s own mantelpiece clock to record its tick. That seriousness of purpose is reflected throughout this book, giving it the heft to match the film.


Reviewed by Helen O'Hara

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Empire's Interstellar Newsstand Cover Has Arrived
Plus a full preview of what you'll find inside our brand new issue

The Future Of Film: British Film Will Thrive (If Tax Breaks Allow)
Or how Harry Potter saved the British film industry, and could again

The Making Of The Lost Pilot: An Oral History
The cast and crew look back at the epic season opener…

Empire's Gone Girl Review
Our official verdict on David Fincher's adaptation of the best-selling novel

The Future Of Film: The Streaming Services Will Be Major Studios
(Or how Hollywood will have to start worrying about Netflix)

The Empire Podcast #129: Liam Neeson Interview
Plus Max Irons, Sam Claflin, Douglas Booth, Holliday Grainger and Jessica Brown Findlay drop by to talk The Riot Club

The Future Of Film: We'll Be Watching Films In Virtual Reality
Immerse cinema aims to become the must-have experience for the filmgoers of the future

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)