Monday, October 8, 2007

Lincoln Legends: Myths, Hoaxes, and Confabulations Associated With Our Greatest President

By Edward Steers Jr.

From the publisher:
The folklore surrounding history's towering figures often overshadows actual scholarship, both in terms of quantity and in terms of prevalence in the public consciousness. As one might expect with a revered national icon, nearly every facet of Abraham Lincoln's life has been subject to mythmaking as well as academic inquiry of widely varying quality and accuracy.

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. Did Abraham Lincoln write his greatest speech on the back of an envelope on the way to Gettysburg? Did he appear before a congressional committee to defend his wife against charges of treason? Was Lincoln an illegitimate child? Was he gay? Edward Steers weighs the evidence in these and other heated debates about the Great Emancipator. Steers's conclusions will satisfy some and disappoint others, and he just might settle some of these enduring questions once and for all.

Edward Steers Jr. is the author of several books, including Blood on the Moon: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln and The Trial: The Assassination of President Lincoln and the Trial of the Conspriators. He appears frequently as a Lincoln expert on C-Span and the History Channel.

From the critics:
"Noted Lincoln scholar Steers succinctly and eloquently debunks 14 popular myths about the Great Emancipator's life and death."--Publishers Weekly

"Steers has written a prodigiously researched history of a provocative subject."--Booklist

"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--and it's a good thing"--Allen C. Guelzo, Henry R. Luce Professor of the Civil War Era & Director, Civil War Era Studies, Gettysburg College

"Brilliantly arranged and 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

"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 and Museum

"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--in subjects ranging from the genesis of the Gettysburg Address; whether the President appeared before the Committee on the Conduct of the War to defend his wife, Mary; to the legitimacy of his birth. Was Lincoln gay? Did his secretary, John Hay, really write the "Bixby Letter" to the Boston widow who purportedly lost five sons in combat? These and more fascinating tales are discussed in a beautiful and succinct style that is not only a credit to the author but to the study of our greatest President."--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

From CWBN:
The exact day of release for this October title is unknown.