Monday, June 25, 2012

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
By Seth Grahame-Smith
Published by Grand Central Pub., 2010
336 pages (hardcover)

Indiana, 1818. Moonlight falls through the dense woods that surround a one-room cabin, where a nine-year-old Abraham Lincoln kneels at his suffering mother's bedside. She's been stricken with something the old-timers call "Milk Sickness."
"My baby boy..." she whispers before dying.
Only later will the grieving Abe learn that his mother's fatal affliction was actually the work of a vampire.
When the truth becomes known to young Lincoln, he writes in his journal, "henceforth my life shall be one of rigorous study and devotion. I shall become a master of mind and body. And this mastery shall have but one purpose..." Gifted with his legendary height, strength, and skill with an ax, Abe sets out on a path of vengeance that will lead him all the way to the White House.
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.  (from

Those who know me know that I love Abraham Lincoln. I mean, he was awesome AND he lived in Illinois. Ok. Maybe I just don’t love Abe. Maybe I am a bit obsessed. Check out the evidence below…

My son at 6 months old celebrating President’s Day with Abe Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt (my other favorite!).

Me on Abe’s 202nd birthday at a Butler University basketball game (Go Dawgs!). I even took a Butler shirt off a tiny bulldog I have and put it on Abe. And brought him to the game.

My son, 2 years old, dressed as Abe Lincoln for Halloween. He was able to recite the beginning of the Gettysburg Address.

This year, instead of celebrating Valentine’s Day (February 14th) I decided we should celebrate Abe’s birthday (February 12th). As a family we made stovepipe hat shaped cookies and read books about Abe Lincoln.

So, yeah, I just had to read this book. I know it is fiction, but Seth Grahame-Smith did such a great job with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies that I figured Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter would be, at the very least, amusing. And me, someone who loves history and Abe Lincoln did really enjoy this book. Really! Grahame-Smith did an excellent job of mixing history with vampire slaying. There were even some points where I wondered if it all really could be true (I wish the very very very end was true!).

One of the most awesome things was that a chunk of the book is set in the Springfield, IL area as well as a few other parts of central Illinois. I mean, I have been to New Salem and Lincoln’s house in Springfield. I have visited his gravesite and worked in a museum that is actually an old house where Lincoln used to stay when visited Vermilion County. Having seen these places made the book seem more alive and realistic. I could totally envision the places Grahame-Smith described and felt like I was with Abe has he took on the evil vampires. I would definitely recommend this book. It is part history, part vampires, and part battles against evil. Seems like a good summer read to me!

Now, you may be wondering, how does the movie compare to the book. Well, I don’t know. I haven’t seen the movie yet and I am not sure if I want to because I hate seeing blood. However, I did text Mr. Koplinski (yes, teachers text each other!) since I knew our great UMS movie reviewer would go see it. Below is our conversation.
Mrs. R: Hey! Did you go see Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and is it any good? I read the book and liked it and was wondering if the movie was any good. Or if it might be too bloody for me. Keep in mind that I am not a fan of lots of blood and gore.

Mr. K: It’s bloody but so much so you can’t take it seriously. It really is a lot of fun; the way they fold history into the story. Give it a shot.

Mrs. R: The book was well written and cracked me up so I am that the movie is enjoyable!

Mr. K: Don’t take the child!!! Though next Halloween he has to go as Lincoln with an axe!

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