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The Shadows Rise: Abraham Lincoln and the Ann Rutledge Legend Hardcover – July 1, 1993

4.7 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Reviewing the writings of Lincoln scholars Albert Beveridge, William Barton, Carl Sandburg, and James G. Randall, Walsh revives the story of Ann Rutledge and the role she played in Lincoln's formative years. Reexamination of the William Herndon papers by historians John Y. Simon and Douglas Wilson have led to renewed interest in Rutledge and her alleged affair with Lincoln. Walsh continues the search, giving credit to New Salem residents who knew Lincoln and Rutledge and attested to the special loving relationship between the two young people. No longer a myth, Rutledge clearly deserves a place in the study of Lincoln's life. Recommended for lay readers and for libraries that want a new addition on their shelf of Lincoln books.
- Patricia Owens, Wabash Valley Coll., Mt. Carmel, Ill.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"The most detailed study of the Abraham Lincoln-Ann Rutledge relationship yet written. Carefully researched and convincingly argued, it should set to rest once and for all the widespread misconception that Lincoln's first love affair was a myth or that the sudden death of Ann Rutledge was an incident of little importance in his early life." Douglas Wilson, co-editor of an edition of Herdon's Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements about Abraham Lincoln "The Shadows Rise documents his periods of depression. Walsh recreates Lincoln's affair with Ann Rutledge, his first love. His moods seem to have been particularly severe after her death - though Walsh concludes that Rutledge died from typhoid, not, as was long supposed, the mortification of being torn between two men whose hands she had accepted."-Jurek Martin, Financial Times, 31st Jan 2009 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 187 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press; 1St Edition edition (July 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252020111
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252020117
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,171,009 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The author tries to 'prove' that Ann Rutledge and Abe Lincoln were truely in love, and planned to marry before her untimely death. Does he achieve this lofty objective?. I think he does, using mostly quotes and stories, and the unfairly ignored book by Lincolns former law partner, Mr. Walsh walks the reader thru the history of New Salem, the ways of life back then, and the people that remembered Ann and Abe as they were. He writes about some historians, who for one reason or another, refuse to accept the possiabilty that part of Abe died with Ann in 1835. The writing is crisp and informative and very helpfull in understanding how it was to live in the 1830's and beyond. Most of all i believe Mr. Walsh achieved something else-thats always tricky when writing about mythical figures like Lincoln. He made him very human....highly recomended
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Format: Hardcover
The Abraham Lincoln/Ann Rutledge romance is once again being debated among historians; any who want to get to the source of the legend would do well to start here.

Walsh does not write histories, so much as stories about how history is written. He takes small but important moments in American history - Lincoln's fabled "Almanac murder trial," or the hanging of British spy Major Andre during the Revolutionary War - and methodically peels away the layers of revisionist history to give us an unvarnished look at the event through the eyes of those who experienced it. At the same time, he lets us see how layer upon layer of scholarly interpretation can muddy the waters of our past to the point that the truth is all but invisible. In "The Shadows Rise," he meticulously traces how Lincoln's chief 19th-century biographer, William Herndon, first heard eyewitness accounts that, while living in New Salem, young Lincoln fell in love with, and became engaged to, a lovely, bright and popular woman named Ann Rutledge. Tracing all existing accounts of former New Salemites, he puts together a convincing and warmly human portrait of Lincoln's first love, and of her tragic death. In all, more than 20 people who knew Lincoln and Rutledge in New Salem (the entire population of which was only around 100) testified the two were in love and engaged, but historians - often basing their opinions on other historians' analysis, rather than first-hand understanding of eyewitness testimony - have hotly debated the story since Herndon first went public with it shortly after Lincoln's death in 1865. The book succeeds in revealing a tender and telling chapter in young Lincoln's life, and in introducing us to a charming young woman it is difficult not to fall a little in love with yourself.
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Format: Paperback
"Doubt that the sun doth move, doubt truth to be a liar, but never doubt I love." (Hamlet Act II, Scene II)

Walsh's "The Shadows Rise" was a wonderful book on so many counts, listing them seems as good a way to start this review as any:

1) It's a side of Lincoln I had never really known...I really think that these recent Lincoln "micro-studies" are so much better than the sweeping biographies because particular attention is given to a fect of his life...given the many thousand of volumes written on Lincoln, it also makes the bibliographies in micro-studies like this one all the more helpful for future reference.

2) It's for the reason above that I so enjoyed Jason Emerson's "Lincoln - the Inventor" (I gave it 5 stars) and look forward to reading "Lincoln and New Orleans" soon

3) It's remarkable the lengths and expense - literally and figuratively - that Herndon went through to collect information on his friend, Lincoln.

4) Walsh's examination and systematic interpretation of Herndon's original interview notes are what is most impressive about this book

5) His conclusion on the Rutledge/Lincoln relationship is very sound; his (gentle) excoriation of professional historians of th eearly- to mid-20th century who had (until only recently) dismissed the relationship

6) The final page or two are tenderly written and lovely prose; his assessment of Lincoln's first love and the pain her death caused him make Lincoln all the more human

7) That the optimistically named "New Salem" hardly lasted was one of the more interesting aspects of the book; I visited the Nat'l Park about 15 years ago and found it to be one of the most boring sites I'd ever been to...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a child in Springfield, Illinois I became aware of the legend of a love affair between Lincoln, and a young woman in New Salem, Ann Rutledge. I remember driving as a child to Petersberg, north of Springfield to view the grave of Ann Rutledge. In the Shadows Rise, John Walsh reviews the known details of this legend though he doesn't unwrap the questions to the point of a solution. Evidence from her family, from residents in tiny New Salem, though no record of writings from Lincoln himself, review what is known of the story. It has been used to explain the 'melancholy' throughout Lincoln's life. Ann died in her late teens of an unknown illness and supposedly her death deeply affected young Lincoln. Years later, after the Presidents tragic death his law partner, William Herndon, renewed this myth in articles and speeches which infuriated Lincoln's widow, Mary Todd Lincoln, especially Herndon's stated opinion the Ann was the only woman Lincoln truly loved. This myth is a basic part of the Lincoln story, though it remains a myth. Walsh pulls the details together in The Shadows Rise. Though lacking proof the book rounds out a part of the Lincoln story.
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