Forgotten History of Vampires

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (Photo credit: KellBailey)

I’m currently nearing the end of the novel “Abraham Lincoln – Vampire Hunter” by Seth Grahame-Smith. It will be released as a major motion picture this summer. I was expecting to find a fun, creepy, and honestly, pretty corny story about things that could not possibly be true. I found something quite different than my expectation.

I found history.

That’s right, this is one thoroughly researched novel. Of course there is the one glaring mistruth – vampires. But aside from that, there is a portrait of the early to mid 1800s, a recounting of Lincoln’s life, his various moves in his younger years, his political rise, and his personal struggles (of course vampires weren’t actually the cause…). You learn and read things that rarely – if ever – grace the pages of school text books – snippets from the Lincoln Douglas debates, the date of the Emancipation Proclamation, the Gettysburg Address, and Lincoln’s Second Inaugural. You meet historical characters that most couldn’t identify today – George McClellan, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, Mary Surratt, and of course, John Wilkes Booth. (If you could identify 3 out of 5, you are doing quite well in modern America.) And you even catch a brief glimpse of a notable writer of the time – in an entirely fictional role – Edgar Allen Poe.

Seth Grahame-Smith has done something that millions of dollars in education spending and countless hours of class instruction have not been able to do. He has made history interesting to this generation. Put aside the vampire attacks, the fictional overlords of Southern society, and ignore the superhero-esque evolution of our 16th president. There are also real, hard facts about American History here. If you have to coat your broccoli with a dusting of sugar to get your kids to eat it, then I see nothing wrong with a vampire or two to get young people to read our country’s history. The important thing is for them to learn their history (or eat their broccoli, whatever the case).

Maybe we should change all of our text books to include a vampire or two. After everyone was thoroughly educated in American History, Western Civilization, Ancient History (add any subject you choose here) we could end with a graduation ceremony where we hear one final, key sentence over the PA system: “Remember everything you’ve learned, but forget the part about the vampires.”

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3 thoughts on “Forgotten History of Vampires

  1. Okay, you stole my idea for a June post. Actually, I was going to write about the movie, and I don’t think my spin will be quite as positive. I read Seth’s “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” and I thoroughly enjoyed the hash up of one of my favorite novels. He nailed the setting, the language, and the landscape of Austen. And I giggled a lot. How can you not when Liz and Darcy share their first kiss amongst a pile of dead zombies that they butchered together??
    But I did see the movie trailer for the Abe Lincoln Vampire Hunter movie, and I laughed through the whole thing, and not in a good way. I know Hollywood never gets the book right, but this movie trailer was over-the-top with bad acting, bad axe wielding, bad plot points. Hell, I didn’t even really know what the movie was about after 60 seconds. I just know there is a really big axe and some dude with a beard who wields it, and oh, that’s the 16th president? Really? Hmmm…I guess I’ll go check out the book, but I’ll pass on the popcorn.

    • Well, you can choose between an ex president with an ax killing vampires, or a bunch of old comic book guys, or cars turning into robots, or an old board game that now includes submarine mechanical monsters. If I were to choose a movie without a plot, I’d take the president with an ax.

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