The Writing Behind the Writing of “Lincoln”

With Tony Kushner’s recent Academy Award nomination for best adapted screenplay for “Lincoln,” there have been numerous media references to its only official source, Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. But some critics have pointed out that the overlap between the book and the movie is only slight.

So, what were Tony Kushner’s sources then? Unlike in academic writing, the screenwriter is hardly required to reveal his sources but according to Slate’s Aisha Harris, Kushner is planning “to create a comprehensive list of the many books and other documents he consulted during his six years of preparation.” Tony Kushner discussed his influences with Dave Davies on NPR, while the New Republic’s Timothy Noah speculates about another major source in his piece, “Tony Kushner’s Real Source for ‘Lincoln’?”

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