Ed Steers has come out with a new book. It is called LINCOLN LEGENDS Myths, Hoaxes, and Confabulations Associated with Our Greatest President
Here's what the publisher, University of Kentucky Press, has to say:
"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."
In addition to being an exacting scholar and reseacher, Ed Steers has been a friend of mine for several years now as well as a mentor. This book will satisfy both the general reader as well as the more informed one because one can read each chapter on its own. Ed has copious notes to his sources, allowing one to do their own investigation (are you listening James Swanson?). One of Ed's strongest chapters involves determining if Andrew and Earl Potter existed. In Ray Neff's book "Dark Union" he claims that Andrew Potter was a detective for the National Detective Police (Lafayette Baker's organization) and that Potter collected several papers that showed high government involvement in Lincoln's assassination. The so-called "Potter Papers," which are in the Indiana State University Library in Terre Haute, were used by David Balsiger and Charles Sellier in their piece of crap called "The Lincoln Conspiracy". Ed shows convincingly that the Potters never existed.
Sounds very much like Steers is plowing old ground and tilting at ogres that never really existed. As you've described it, it might make interesting fodder for the Lincoln idolizers and detractors, but is there anything REALLY new in it?
Well, if by "new" you mean nothing has ever been written about it before, then no, it's not new (with the exception of the Potter story, which has only appeared in North and South). If "new" was a requirement, the entire Lincoln publishing industry would have ground to a halt about 40 years ago. But Ed offers a fresh perspective on these issues. I'm also confused as to what you mean by "ogres that never really existed".
Specifically, by ogres that never really existed, I mean the DiLorenzo screeds, the assassination plots, and those who insist Lincoln was gay. These are frippery, so far as my interest goes. If Speers comes up with some unusual interpretations of Lincoln's writing or conversations, I could get interested. If, as you say, he offers a fresh perspective, then it may very well be something I can spare the time to read.
As a booklover, you know how much time you have and you do not want to waste it. With your recommendation, I will consider it worth investing and not wasting the time.