America’s greatest president in both popular perception and scholarly evaluation, Abraham Lincoln has garnered more than his fair share of myths, legends, hoaxes, canards, idiosyncratic theories, fables and outright distortions and lies. Some of these ‘fairy tales’ have even been propagated by widely respected Lincoln scholars and popular exponents (e.g., Carl Sandburg). Even more unfortunately, a significant number of these untruths have captivated the popular imagination, some now being accepted without question as “fact”, not fantasy.
In Lincoln Legends: Myths, Hoaxes and Confabulations Associated With Our Greatest President, Edward Steers, Jr., examines a number of the most prominent Lincoln legends and myths, adduces and evaluates the evidence for and against, then offers a judgment which is almost always inerrant and persuasive.
Lincoln Legends is thoughtfully selected and arranged, clearly and concisely written, well-researched and documented, and always entertaining. From the story of Lincoln’s birthplace cabin to the amazing fabrication of a nonexistent “Andrew Potter,” you’ll be engaged, enlightened and informed.
I strongly recommend this excellent little work to any who have an interest in the truth about the Great Emancipator.
Incidentally, several of the myths which Steers examines have been propounded about the circumstances surrounding the assassination of President Lincoln (for example, the asserted escape of John Wilkes Booth, the story of Peanut John, and several others). This next month, on April 15th – the 145th anniversary of Lincoln’s death — the Haysville Community Library will be sponsoring a special program on The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln. More about that program tomorrow . . .