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I went to the White House shortly after tea where I found the original gorilla about as intelligent as ever. What a specimen to be at the head of our affairs now…Gen. George B. McClellan

The title referring to Lincoln as “our greatest president” is the give away that this is a puff piece from the lightweight end of the cult of Lincoln. We have accompanied the post with a series of contemporary political cartoons that show that his contemporaries were not quire so befuddled in their view of the man.

Lincoln legends : myths, hoaxes, and confabulations associated with our greatest president Lexington : University Press of Kentucky, c 2007      Edward Steers Jr. ; with an introduction by Harold Holzer Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865 Legends Hardcover. 1st. ed. and printing. xvii, 264 p. : ill. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 231-254) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text.  VG/VG

The folklore surrounding historical 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 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,  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 man. Steers’s conclusions will satisfy some and disappoint others but nothing in this book will give you a clearer picture of the real Lincoln – for that we can only suggest The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War, by Thomas DiLorenzo.

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