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.
—William Hanchett, author of Out of the Wilderness: The Life of Abraham Lincoln
The definitive A-to-Z reference to the Abraham Lincoln assassination by Edward Steers, author of Blood on the Moon: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln. With a foreword by Manhunt author James L. Swanson.
New president Andrew Johnson's executive order on May 1 directed that persons charged with Lincoln's murder stand trial before a military tribunal. The trial lasted more than fifty days, and 366 witnesses gave testimony. Benn Pitman, a recognized expert in phonography, an early form of shorthand, was awarded the government contract to produce a transcription of each day's testimony. Pitman made these transcripts available to the prosecution and the defense, as well as to select members of the press.
Although three versions of the trial testimony were published, Pitman's edited collection was the most accessible. He skillfully winnowed the 4,300 pages of transcription into one volume, collated the testimony by defendant, indexed the testimony by name and date, and added summaries of the testimony.
In The Trial, assassination scholars guide readers through all 421 pages of testimony, illuminating Pitman's record. By drawing together the evidence that resulted in the conspirators' convictions, The Trial leaves no doubt as to the events surrounding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, making this book a fascinating account of the trial as well as an essential resource.