Will the real Abe Lincoln please stand up? - FOX Carolina 21

Will the real Abe Lincoln please stand up?

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Professor Burton flips through the pages of Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. (June 18, 2012/FOX Carolina) Professor Burton flips through the pages of Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. (June 18, 2012/FOX Carolina)
NINETY SIX, SC (FOX Carolina) -

President by day, vampire hunter by night.

It's the tagline of a summer blockbuster opening soon. Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter is set to open in movie theaters Friday.

It's a Tim Burton production that claims to be the "untold story" of America's 16th president. The movie is based on the book with the same name written by Seth Grame-Smith. It reached The New York Times' Bestsellers List when it was released in 2010. 

While the book is a work of fiction, it received the attention of some Clemson University professors including one historian has quite a few thoughts on the book, but said one thing is for sure - this isn't the same Honest Abe that students learned about in school.

In the book, Abraham Lincoln, the president known for his opposition of slavery, is on a crusade against something else - vampires. Blood-thirsty vampires plan to take over the United States, forcing Lincoln to become the "greatest hunter of the undead."

"They have Lincoln as a vigilante, outside the rule of the law, killing vampires," said Lincoln scholar, author and Clemson University history professor Orville Vernon Burton.

It's all from supposedly the same man that's been Burton's hero since childhood. Burton has even written a couple of his own nonfictional Lincoln biographies.

Burton said not only is the historical plot line off from reality, but its portrayal of Lincoln himself is too.

"Lincoln was a tough man, great athlete, a good wrestler, fast runner," said Burton. "But he didn't hunt, never used vile words or cursed, never took God's name in vain and didn't drink or chew."

But Burton said the fictional franchise may be a good way to get Lincoln back into the spotlight.

"People in South Carolina don't care for Lincoln anymore, cultural wars have had a pretty bad effect, unfair effect on people's interpretation," said Burton. 

Burton is concerned people may walk away with the wrong impression of the historical figure, but he's hoping it will inspire the younger generation to pick up more nonfictional books about a man he calls America's greatest president.

And his personal review of the book?

"Sure I like it, but I like most books," said Burton.  "It's well-written, is a fun read, doesn't take too long to get through, but I may know too much about Lincoln to enjoy it."

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