Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Book Review: "Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter" by Seth Grahme-Smith



While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years.

Using the journal as his guide and writing in the grand biographical style of Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough, Seth has reconstructed the true life story of our greatest president for the first time-all while revealing the hidden history behind the Civil War and uncovering the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of our nation.

I have been getting a bit tired at all the mash-ups that seem to have popped up in the past year. While I thoroughly enjoyed Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, it was because when it came out it was the first and therefore unique. After that book became a hit, I swear every time you turned around there was another literary classic being entangled in a battle with monster or some figment of imagination. Seriously, it made me sad that authors couldn't come up with something original, that they had to take a classic work and put their spin on it. Therefore I was pleasantly surprised to hear that this book was coming out. While it does do a mash up, instead of taking classic literature it uses one of the great real life men that our country has ever seen.

I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. I knew that I enjoyed Grahme-Smith's work from PPandZ so I had a feeling that I would get a kick out of this book too. He skillfully blends history with humor. I love how certain events get explained that they happened due to vampires. It's not done in an unbelievable way because the author writes like an actual popular historian. Actually all that's missing would be a bibliography at the end of the book. I would actually find it hilarious if one day all the real accounts of Abraham Lincoln get destroyed and all that's left will be this book which a future generation will depend on to get an understanding of Lincoln.

The pictures in the book are the best. Every time I came across one, I would break down and start laughing. Some of them are obviously cut and paste jobs but others look like the real thing (some I can't tell if they have been doctored or just as they are with a funny caption). My favorite is the one with Jefferson Davis and John Wilkes Booth. It's a serious picture but the caption just makes it stand out (and me in almost tears from laughing so hard).

If you're looking for a serious book about Abraham Lincon, run far far away. If you are a history purist who can't stand the thought of someone writing a fictional, much less sensationalist view of our 16th president, stay away from this book. But if you are a history fan and love humor, this book is just wonderful. It's an engrossing read and if it was a true account, I would call it extremely well researched. As it stands, it's one of the more unique reads of the year. And a hoot to boot.


Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahme-Smith is published by Grand Central Publishing (2010)

This ARC was provided by the publisher

10 comments:

  1. I'm glad you loved this one, but I'm not sure it's for me. I haven't learned to embrace vampires yet.

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  2. Liked your post. Someday I hope to write a book where the royalties will pay for the copies I give away.
    :-)
    Nikki

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  3. Love the review. I was a little hesitant about this one having just finished Dawn of the Dreadfuls and being a little fed up with the mashup train myself...

    But you know what? I think I'll add this one to my wishlist. :o)

    Thanks for the great review!

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  4. I've generally avoided mashups, but this one just calls out to me. Abraham Lincoln. A vampire hunter. LOL! I simply must get myself a copy soon! And I'm a history teacher! :-0

    Great review!

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  5. I've heard this one is different than the other mash-ups and definitely want to read it at some point.

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  6. Haha, sounds good! My husband bought this one this past weekend and he's going to read it as soon as he finishes the one he's working on now. I'm sure he'll love it.

    Have you heard of the other mash ups still to come? There's the pride and prejudice prequel, little women and werewolves, and android kerenina.

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  7. I didn't really expect that I would like this one, but I thought it was great. Every time I put i down, I came back to read a little more. I definitely felt as if I were reading history, and a few times I had t think about what was going on.

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  8. Hilarious concept. I don't know if I'll get around to reading it but I do like to see such creativity!

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  9. I'm looking forward to this one. I think you need a good sense of humor for these books. I loved PP&Z too.

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  10. I'm glad to read a review of this one. I haven't read any of the other books like this, mostly because I'm not a lover of classics, but this one did peak my interest. now I'm even more willing to get it.

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