Friday, March 19, 2010

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter?

Throughout the week, Abraham Lincoln has appeared in the news (NYTimes in connection with a new book that just hit stores. The book is entitled Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and was written by the same author that recently had a hit with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. This latest effort at reimagining Abraham Lincoln has already managed to polarize Lincoln scholars (as if that took much anyway). As the Daily Beast reported, the founding director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library is none too pleased with the book that casts the Great Emancipator as an axe wielding vampire hunter. In an email interview, Robert Norton Smith described the idea of Lincoln as a vampire hunter as “the most inane idea imaginable.” He went on to add that the book is, “a true bastardization of the Lincoln story.”
That said, Doris Kearns Goodwin (author of Team of Rivals) is said to be a fan. Is it wrong to be a fan of such an insane and silly interpretation of Lincoln, as Norton Smith suggests? I think not. I haven’t read the book, but I think generally speaking anything that encourages greater interest in American history is a good thing. Maybe Lincoln himself may have enjoyed the book; he certainly had a taste for the macabre.
He was known to recite the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe, and even wrote his own Poe-like true crime short story entitled “Remarkable Case of Arrest for Murder,” which was published in a local newspaper. 
            While I agree that the idea of Lincoln as a “vampire hunter” is laughable and probably an attempt to cash in on the popularity of all things vampire related, I think the historians who are taking aim at this book are missing the point. Maybe someone who never would have thought to read a book on Lincoln or the Civil War era will read this and want to learn more about American history. 

Will you read Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter?

            [Images via bestdamncreativewritingblog and avocado-owlet]

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