Film

Background & Need | Approach, Structure & Style | Themes | Letter From Gabor Boritt | Director's Statement | Links

 
Themes
It is still early in the process, but many themes have already emerged in Budapest to Gettysburg. More will grow apparent as the project progresses and some might have to be put aside. Historians tell us the American story. Their work is crucial to our understanding of our national identity. How do historians arrive at their interpretations? Gabor’s unique background among the scholars of Lincoln and the American Civil War makes him an excellent vehicle for understanding how a historian’s past effects his or her point-of-view. Interviews with him, and with fellow historians, his longtime friends, such as Jean Baker, Robert Bruce (Gabor’s Pulitzer Prize-winning teacher), Barbara Fields, Géza Jeszenszky, John Hope Franklin, James McPherson and others, will shed light on the creative process.
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“Gabor’s story speaks loudly about America’s strengths.”
    Jack Kemp
    Empower America
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How does a man who lived in a totalitarian regime become an expert on its antithesis? One history he lived; the other he learned. Gabor likes to say “I was born in World War II Hungary, and born again in the United States, a free man.” He sees America as a beacon of democracy. It saved itself, body and spirit, in Lincoln’s time, and saved the world in World War II and by facing down Soviet totalitarianism. He also understands the controversial nature of America’s role in the world and its many faults at home. How did his views of American history evolve?

Gabor’s books are widely used as texts, from undergraduate classes to Ph.D. seminars. Some have been History Book Club and Book of the Month Club selections. His notes, on occasion, have reached the desk of the President of the United States. What role does Gabor’s own story play in this?

The film will also provide a fluid dialogue about Lincoln. It will follow Gabor as he works: teaching, writing, lecturing and exploring the Gettysburg battlefield, illuminating Civil War America. He will be filmed exchanging ideas with leading historians. Through Gabor’s experiences, the film will bring to life a central figure of America’s story.

What role can history play in turning immigrants into Americans? At its best, the U.S. prides itself in finding unity through diversity. How do historical interpretations expand to unify Americans? The process is ongoing. According to the Census Bureau, the U.S. is home to 33 million Americans who were born abroad; one in five primarily speaks a foreign language. What does U.S. history offer to these people? And what new vitality do they bring here?