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Lincoln Legends: Myths, Hoaxes, and Confabulations Associated with Our Greatest President Hardcover – October 12, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: The University Press of Kentucky (October 12, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813124662
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813124667
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,378,072 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Noted Lincoln scholar Steers (Blood on the Moon: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln) succinctly and eloquently debunks 14 popular myths about the Great Emancipator's life and death. Is the so-called Birthplace Cabin in Kentucky the real thing? Probably not, save for a few random boards that might linger from the original structure. Was Lincoln's father of record, Thomas Lincoln, actually his father, or was Lincoln the bastard son of Nancy Hanks and another man? According to Steers, Thomas Lincoln sowed the seed in his lawfully wedded wife. Did Lincoln and Ann Rutledge have a love affair? No, says Steers. He also takes on such questions as whether Mary Lincoln was a Confederate spy (nope), whether the famous lost draft of the Gettysburg Address is real or a forgery (forgery) and whether the infamous Dr. Samuel Mudd was guilty of duplicity in the Lincoln assassination (guilty as charged). Additionally, Steers dismembers the myth that Lincoln was gay. Throughout, the author backs up his pronouncements with solid documentation: the surest tool for clearing the smoke of fantastic folklore that envelops the 16th president. Photos. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Much that has been written about Lincoln, claims Steers, is mythmaking. It began early, at the Republican State Convention in May 1860. For 20 years, Steers has worked to correct the legend and tell the truth about the conspiracy that ended Lincoln's life and the complicity of the doctor who treated the president's murderer after the assassination. The myths include Lincoln's alleged romance with Ann Rutledge, rumors about his illegitimacy, his born-again Christian conversion and baptism, and his appearance before a congressional committee to defend his controversial wife. Chapters deal with such subjects as his birthplace cabin; his father; his speeches and writings; the myth that he was gay; missing pages from John Wilkes Booth's diary; and the identity of Peanut John Burroughs, the man who held Booth's horse. Steers, author of Blood on the Moon, has written a prodigiously researched history of a provocative subject. Cohen, George

More About the Author


Edward Steers, Jr. (University of Pennsylvania, AB, PhD), is considered the leading authority on the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Ed has authored seven books on Lincoln's death including "Blood on the Moon," "The Trial," "The Lincoln Assassination Conspirators," and "The Lincoln Assassination Encyclopedia." He served as an advisor to the Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, and as a member of the West Virginia Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. Among the honors he has received are the "Person of the Year" award from the Lincoln Group of the District of Columbia, the Lincoln Group of New York's "Achievement Award," and the "Lifetime Award of Achievement for Enduring Scholarship in the Field of Lincoln Research" by the Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum. More recently Ed has tried his hand at fiction and published "We'LL Meet Again," a World War II novel, and "Der Tagebuch. The Journal," a story set in a small West Virginia town in the 1980s involving the escape of Adolph Hitler and murder.

Customer Reviews

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Being a Lincoln fan, I enjoyed this book a lot and I would recommend to anyone who has an interest in America's 16th President.
Danielle
I would also recommend this book as a reference to students in the 6th grade and up as a great resource; it is a quick read and keeps your attention well.
Suzanne Stewart
He has evaluated the evidence and corrected 14 popular myths about Lincoln and at the same time has managed to entertain the reader.
Irene Zern

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Anyechka on July 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This was such an engrossing and captivating book that I read it in only a couple of days. Of all of the many, many, many books already published about President Lincoln, this one is a most worthy addition to the canon. For many people who have grown up treasuring or swearing by urban legends or outright historical falsehoods (such as Betsy Ross making the first American flag or President Washington chopping down a cherry tree), it can be hard to be confronted with the facts demolishing the legends, but intellectual honesty and historical truth should matter more than preserving a myth just because it makes one feel good or because it's been repeated so often that it's taken on the stature of truth.

I've read a lot about President Lincoln since I was a child, but some of the legends in this book were new to even me, such as the stories about his supposed out of wedlock birth, his alleged late-night baptism in a freezing river, and "Peanut John," the boy who held Booth's horse while he was inside of Ford's Theatre on that fateful night. Other topics covered include Dr. Samuel Mudd (was he or wasn't he an innocent doctor caught in the wrong place at the wrong time?), the true nature of the relationship between the young Abe and Ann Rutledge (I was kind of disappointed to learn that they may not have had a romance, though there is still no conclusive evidence in either direction), the modern-day myth about President Lincoln being gay, the "lost" draft of the Gettysburg Address, and Andrew Potter, the man who never was. Some of these legends may be more interesting to Lincoln scholars than to the general public, but they're all interesting. Some of them even made me laugh, like the one about his supposed true paternity and the totally implausible scenario for his alleged secret late-night baptism in the freezing December weather. There's something in here for everyone who has more than a passing interest in our greatest president.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Anson Cassel Mills on April 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Most of Lincoln Legends is directed at buffs attracted by such arcane topics as the provenance of the Lincoln "birthplace" cabin, the final resting place (or more likely, places) of Ann Rutledge, whether Lincoln could have been baptized by immersion in the Sangamon River, and assorted odd notions about the assassination. A few chapters are of greater significance, among them the one spiking the myth of a "gay Lincoln" and the thorough examination of the "deceptive doctor," Samuel Alexander Mudd.

Steers writes well enough, but the book might have been improved by a more vigorous application of the editorial pen. Steers' method is usually to begin by laying out the mythological tale at perhaps too great a length and then to demolish the myth at the end of the chapter. This course often leads to wordy repetition. Books about myths and hoaxes are often fun to read; and this one is no exception, although it would have been better if it had been say, fifty pages shorter.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Danielle VINE VOICE on January 9, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Abraham Lincoln-a man who a lot of people agree that he was one of America's best presidents. With that adoration comes a lot of rumors, half-truths, and lies. Edward Steers Jr., who authored of "Blood on the Moon" a book about Lincoln's assassination (a book that I read and enjoyed), sets out to debunk some of the persisting Lincoln rumors.

I found the book to be quite interesting, especially since I'm always looking to read new material on Lincoln. I found the chapters dealing directly with Lincoln to be the most interesting. The ones that dealt with myths after Lincoln was assassinated were not as interesting to me. My favorite chapters were the ones about Abraham and Ann Rutledge (a story still not confirmed but I personally believe it's true), the Gettysburg chapters, and the chapter debunking some quotes that people attribute to Lincoln.

Being a Lincoln fan, I enjoyed this book a lot and I would recommend to anyone who has an interest in America's 16th President.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne Stewart on March 29, 2011
Format: Paperback
I read this in one afternoon, and was very satisfied. Growing up near his Birthplace, I thought I was well read with regards to Lincoln and the various myths and legends surrounding him. The author found a few that I was unaware of, and provided a thorough and annotated, but not boring treatment for each. I would also recommend this book as a reference to students in the 6th grade and up as a great resource; it is a quick read and keeps your attention well. Within are good examples of debunking myths, and looking at the cherished legends of history with a critical eye.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Leonard R. Black on August 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is one of the best I have ever read I have learned more about Abraham Lincoln by reading this book then almost all the other books i have purchased and read. His life before he became a president was a very simple one but very interesting one also .Reading this book has gave me more and more insite into his life his legend and all the things that matter . It is like his life unravelling right in front of you from the first page to the last .He was a humble person as a man and as a president .Abraham Lincoln was an honus man 4he probably love life more then most people of today do. I salute the man that was our 16th president the only one worth saluting
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