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History Unplugged Podcast

with Scott Rank

Bringing Abraham and Mary Todd to Life in Steven Spielberg's “Lincoln”—Historical Consultant Catherine Clinton

00:00 01:09:08
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Being a historical consultant for movies is never easy. How do you get the period details right while keeping it contained within an interesting narrative? But being a historical consultant about one of the most recognizable figure in history is even harder. That’s why today’s guest Catherine Clinton had her work cut out for her.

For the 2012 Steve Spielberg movie “Lincoln,” Clinton—a U.S. academic historian and expert on Mary Lincoln—was consulted by filmmakers over costume details and details about the Lincolns’ lives.

In this episode we discuss

Popular misconceptions about Mary Todd that historians know is falseWhether her reputation as a hellcat or maniac is deserved, and if not, why it became distortedChallenges of portraying historical fact while cutting necessary corners for a 2-hour film narrativeWhat “Lincoln” portrayed about Abraham and Mary Todd that other film makers have missedLessons from the life of Abraham and Mary Todd we should remember today
December 18, 2017
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Meet Your Host
Scott Rank is the host of the History Unplugged Podcast and a PhD in history who specialized in the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey. Before going down the academic route he worked as a journalist in Istanbul. He has written 12 history books on topics ranging from lost Bronze Age civilizations to the Age of Discovery. Some of his books include The Age of Illumination: Science, Technology, and Reason in the Middle Ages and History’s 9 Most Insane Rulers.. Learn more about him by going to
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