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.)
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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