The recently published book “Abraham Lincoln : Vampire Hunter” by Seth Grahame-Smith has attracted a lot of interest from readers in recent weeks. It’s garnering great reviews, including one I wrote here. The book is well-written and Grahame-Smith has skillfully blended historical fact with a fun fictional account of Lincoln as a hunter of vampires.
I’ve been struck, though, by how many “hits” this blog has been receiving from people who are trying to determine what is fictional and what is fact in the book. As a small public service, I thought I’d help out those who are having difficulty in this area. The list below touches on some of the major events in the book. WARNING: There will most likely be spoilers here!
- The Secret Journal Of Abraham Lincoln – complete fiction. It would be a major historical find if such a journal were ever to be discovered.
- Lincoln befriending Edgar Allen Poe – also fiction. The real Lincoln loved Poe’s works of poetry and fiction, but the two gentlemen never met in real life. That photo in the book which shows them posing together? Nicely faked.
- Lincoln venturing to Mississippi to confront Jefferson Davis – fiction. The two probably did meet somewhere along the way, but Lincoln never travelled to Mississippi to confront him.
- The photos – mostly doctored, blatantly or not. Most of the photos in the book have been “enhanced” to go along with the story. For example, Jefferson Davis and John Wilkes Booth never posed together for a photo. The photo with Lincoln sitting in General McClellan’s tent at Antietam is real enough, with the exception of the ax shown next to Lincoln. The photo showing the close-up with the skull on the battlefield? Mostly real, with the exception of the fangs.
- Lincoln in New Orleans – fact. Lincoln did travel twice to New Orleans, once in 1828, and once in 1830. He was hired to deliver crops and other cargo from Illinois down the Mississippi River.
- Lincoln’s mother Nancy dying when Abe was 9 – fact. She indeed died when Abe was only 9, but from drinking milk poisoned by a cow eating white snake root, a poisonous plant.
- Lincoln’s son Willie dying in 1862 – fact. He died of typhoid fever.
- Vampires – sorry, folks. Henry Sturges is fictional. So are all the other vampires which pop up in the story. I didn’t really have to tell you this, did I?