Myths, Hoaxes, and Confabulations Associated with Our Greatest President
Published by: The University Press of Kentucky
In the more than 140 years since his death, Abraham Lincoln has become America's most revered president. The mythmaking about this self-made man began early, some of it starting during his campaign for the presidency in 1860. As an American icon, Lincoln has been the subject of speculation and inquiry as authors and researchers have examined every aspect -- personal and professional -- of the president's life.
In Lincoln Legends, noted historian and Lincoln expert Edward Steers Jr. carefully scrutinizes some of the most notorious tall tales and distorted ideas about America's sixteenth president. These inaccuracies and speculations about Lincoln's personal and professional life abound. Did he write his greatest speech on the back of an envelope on the way to Gettysburg? Did Lincoln appear before a congressional committee to defend his wife against charges of treason? Was he an illegitimate child? Did Lincoln have romantic encounters with women other than his wife? Did he have love affairs with men? What really happened in the weeks leading up to April 14, 1865, and in the aftermath of Lincoln's tragic assassination?
Lincoln Legends evaluates the evidence on all sides of the many heated debates about the Great Emancipator. Not only does Steers weigh the merits of all relevant arguments and interpretations, but he also traces the often fascinating evolution of flawed theories about Lincoln and uncovers the motivations of the individuals -- occasionally sincere but more often cynical, self-serving, and nefarious -- who are responsible for their dispersal.
Based on extensive primary research, the conclusions in Lincoln Legends will settle many of the enduring questions and persistent myths about Lincoln's life once and for all. Steers leaves us with a clearer image of Abraham Lincoln as a man, as an exceptionally effective president, and as a deserving recipient of the nation's admiration.
The Birthplace Cabin
Abe and Ann
Ann Rutledge's Resting Place
Wast Lincoln Baptized?
The Mole in the White House
You Can Fool All of the People Some of the Time...
The World Will Little Note...
The "Lost" Draft of the Gettysburg Address
The Gay Lincoln Myth
Noble American or Deceptive Doctor?
The Missing Pages from Booth's Diary
The Man Who Never Was
"Ed Steers' delightful romp through the myths, whacking them down one-by-one, is funny and instructive all at the same moment. Once you've watched Steers crunch down on such horse-chestnuts as the 'martyrdom' of Samuel Mudd, the 'escape' of John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln's sexuality and illegitimacy and paternity, your view of Lincoln will never the be the same." -- Allen C. Guelzo, Henry R.Luce
"Steers has written a prodigiously researched history of a provocative subject." -- Booklist
"With the acuity of the scientist he is, Ed Steers Jr. searches for the truth about many of the stories relating to Abraham Lincoln. And he discovers it to." -- Frank J. Williams, founding Chair of the Lincoln Forum
"An enlightening look at the myths and outright lies that have both glorified and slandered the sixteenth president. Reading it is like seeing a deifying marble statue of the Great Emancipator, one that had suffered vandalism, slowly come to life, step down from its pedestal, and allow us to meet an unassuming but great man." -- Joe Nickell, author of Unsolved History: Investigating Mysteries of the Past
"Brilliantly arranged... one of the most informative Lincoln books ever written. A captivating and informative book that belongs on the bookshelf of every lover of history!" -- Joseph Garrera, President, The Lincoln Group of New York
"Noted Lincoln scholar Steers succinctly and eloquently debunks 14 popular myths about the Great Emancipator's life and death." -- Publishers Weekly
"Steers takes many widely held views about Abraham Lincoln and places them under the microscope to see if all the supporting evidence holds up under scrutiny. These are the very stories that have wide circulation because academic historians tend to dismiss them rather than confront them. As a result, the stories become adopted by the public, lacking any serious vocal debunking by experts in the field. Lincoln Legends serves as a very useful corrective to many of these 'myths' about Lincoln." -- Thomas F. Schwartz, Illinois State Historian, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
"For those wanting answers about Lincoln, this is a fine volume. Leaving humor to the fun front cover, the contents are at once deferential to those seeking basic information and probing about deeper layers of the president's life. A solid offering displaying expert research." -- Library Journal
"Steers evaluates the evidence on all sides of the many heated debates about Lincoln, weighing all of the relevant arguments and interpretations in addition to tracing the fascinating evolution of many of the more flawed theories about the president. The result is as close to the truth as we are likely to get. This is fascinating reading that brims with insight and debunking." -- Tucson Citizen
"Steers tries, once and for all, to separate Lincoln fact from fiction. It is not an easy task." -- Lexington Herald Leader
" Lincoln Legends is a worthy addition to the library of anyone interested in learning the truth about Lincoln and his heritage." -- Civil War Times
"A premier Lincoln historian offers an interesting, penetrating look into the fascinating nonsense (both accidental and intentional) that has confused Americans' understanding of one of our national folk gods." -- History Book Club
"[A]n invaluable contribution to Lincoln literature. It debunks the false histories written about Lincoln even in our own times. Anyone interested in Lincoln will surely enjoy this new volume on Honest Abe." -- Sun-News
" Lincoln Legends is a well-researched and documented analysis of the stories that have become a part of the image that Americans have chosen to believe about their most beloved and respected leader.... This book reflects favorably on the journey of a wonderful history detective and will be enjoyed and referenced by all who are interested in the story of Abraham Lincoln." -- Journal of Illinois History
"Very entertaining and easy to understand.... This is a book that will debunk a lot of the myths that have been built up, through the years, about Abraham Lincoln." -- Lone Star Book Review
"Steers' telling of these legends is entertaining and informative." -- Curled up with a Good Book
"An entertaining look at the fascinating nonsense (both accidental and intentional) that surrounds Honest Abe." -- Military Book Club
"This book is interested and well-worth reading. Each chapter is a separate issue and stands alone. I can guarantee that you will enjoy this book." -- Kentucky Civil War Bugle
"Edward Steers, by producing a well-written and thoroughly researched and documented book, provides a welcome service to readers who believe that historical accounts must be based on evidence and that fictitious ones should be treated as such. Lincoln Legends is a welcome addition to collections of Lincoln books." -- Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association
"Steers carefully pays attention to the tales and distorted ideas about our 16th president, evaluating all the evidence and correcting many of the myths about Lincoln." -- Harrodsburg Herald
"[The book] serves as a very useful corrective to many other Lincoln myths that have got into circulation. And best of all, it is a good read." -- Journal of Southern History
"Through meticulous research, Steers eventually uncovers a larger irony: Lincoln, whom he calls 'a passionate advocate for truth,' will forever be shrouded in legend." -- New York Post
"Steers confronts the many distorted and fabricated stories about Abraham Lincoln... and deconstructs them with the exacting tenacity of a surgeon. The greatest favor a parent could do for a school-aged child with an interest in history is to buy a copy of this book and give it to their child's history or social studies teacher" -- Blue & Gray Magazine
"Readers will be fascinated by the variety of tales told about Lincoln's life and death." -- Indiana Magazine of Histroy
"Steers writes in an engaging style, and this book is highly recommended. It reminds readers that sensational headlines appear on the front page of newspapers while corrections and retractions are placed where few people will read them, allowing the erroneous report to become ingrained in the public mind." -- The Historian
"Steers has written a book almost certain to appeal to that very wide audience uninterested in exploring the complexity of policymaking or studying Lincoln's role in momentous events." -- H-Net Reviews
"A delightfully amusing, yet scholarly look at the many bogus tales about Lincoln's origins, life, loves, and death." -- NYMAS Review
"In Lincoln Legends, Steers... gives us a delightfully amusing, yet scholarly look at the many bogus tales about Lincoln's origins, life, loves, and death, as well as some of the folks connected with these." -- Strategypage.com