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David Strathairn stars here as the thoughtful, level-headed Abraham Lincoln, opposite Richard Dreyfuss' condescendingly pushier voicing of Stephen A. Douglas. Neither put on any accents nor otherwise inject any unnecessary melodrama into the already powerful text of these debates. Whether purposefully sober or not, the result is that neither actor (nor the Senate candidate they represent) shines in this fairly straightforward reading. Strathairn's voicing bests Dreyfuss' Douglas but never soars to the rhetorical heights history attributes Lincoln. In admirably 'acting' out the debates verbatim, these Hollywood actors are not afforded the text of an author with masterful prose, much less a plot that thickens with each passing chapter. Instead Strathairn and Dreyfuss dutifully voice the debates with the clarity of tone and diction needed to facilitate understanding the finer points of arguments made over 150 years ago. The Lincoln-Douglas Debates are a challenging listen, but an appropriately timely one that these actors make worthwhile. Josh Ravitz
Never before presented in audio, these debates and great statesmen are brought to life by narrators Richard Dreyfuss (Douglas) and David Strathairn (Lincoln). Perfectly timed for the Lincoln Bincentennial celebrations, The Lincoln-Douglas Debates provide a soundtrack to a nation discovering its better self.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By B. Leddy on 09-27-11
what a resource!
Great performances. Can't believe we have access to this stuff, Never could have read the debates out of a book - this made it really accessible. Douglas' arguments were extremely sensible at the time from a practical perspective. In hindsight it is really great the Lincoln and his allies took the morally high ground. What a passage this was for the country - the debates gave a great snap shot on the thorny legal issues that led to the war.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
By Dale on 10-12-11
His unabridged recording of the Lincoln-Douglas Debates by two well-known actors is both great fun and a fantastic insight into a key debate on a central issue in American history. Both actors seem to really get into character (although I wonder if Dreyfuss maybe hams it up a bit... this may be unfair as I do not know the literature regarding how Douglas really spoke and delivered his speeches) and the intervening comments of the 3rd narrator (communicating time, location, and audience interruptions) help to place the listener at the edge of the stage in the crowd. Great stuff.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful