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Author: Jeff O’Bryant
Honest Abe. The rail-splitter. The Great Emancipator. Old Abe. These are familiar monikers of Abraham Lincoln. They describe a man who has influenced the lives of everyday people as well as notables like Leo Tolstoy, Marilyn Monroe, and Winston Churchill. But there is also a multitude of fictional Lincolns almost as familiar as the original: time traveler, android, monster hunter. This book explores Lincoln's evolution from martyred president to cultural icon and the struggle between the Lincoln of history and his fictional progeny. He has been Simpsonized by Matt Groening, charmed by Shirley Temple, and emulated by the Lone Ranger. Devotees have attempted to clone him or to raise him from the dead. Lincoln's image and memory have been invoked to fight communism, mock a sitting president, and sell products. Lincoln has even been portrayed as the greatest example of goodness humanity has to offer. In short, Lincoln is the essential American myth.